Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Now, This Is Really Green

Drinking up a true green drink seemed a bit formidable to me a few months ago, but I made the gradual transition from standard breakfast fare to fruit smoothies, then added greens to the fruit smoothies and now I've gone to another level with mostly greens, juiced with just a bit of sweet veggies and/or a bit of fruit.
Once I'm drinking dynamite juice made with all fresh, organic green veggies, I'll have arrived at a good plateau toward my goal of achieving optimum health.
Meanwhile, I'm having a grand time, filled with energy and a sense of adventure as I experiment with combinations that are easy to swallow, yet still offer a wide variety of nutrients.

The glass of green juice above is simply:
2 Kirby cucumbers
1/2 bag of baby spinach (6 oz)
half a cantaloupe.
I chose to juice this combo rather than blend it, though it would work equally well in the blender, but wouldn't have the clear, deep green color. The added benefit to using a blender is keeping all the fiber from the pulp rather than extruding it in a juicer. I was aiming for a pre-dinner juice, not a meal replacement. But it turned out to be dinner, as it filled me sufficiently.

Someone asked me how to eliminate the foam that is created with juicing — I tried two methods.
First, I tried straining the juice into the drinking glass and only had a very small 'head' as you can see in the image below.
Then, I tried carefully pouring the juice into the serving glass, allowing the clear juice to slip out from underneath the layer of foam. Straining was a time consuming step that I'd just as soon eliminate. Pouring slowly at a good angle worked for me. I suppose you could skim off the top foamy layer much as you would if you were de-greasing gravy. If anyone still does that.

The foam is fine to drink. "Waste not; want not."

Experiment with a green drink — it's much tastier than you think!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Green Goddess

Green drinks have become a staple in my smoothie repertoire, whether a fruit combo for breakfast or a straight veggie drink for lunch. An image of either doesn't look much different as the green color dominates. With a fresh pineapple on hand, yesterday I blended with kale and this morning I used spinach.

Here are a few ideas to add lots of green goodness to your daily diet.

Green Goddess
1 cup water
1 cup chopped fresh pineapple
1 big handful frozen peach slices
3 - 4 pieces of kale with stems removed
2 big hands full of spinach

Luncheon Green Drink

2 Kirby cukes, peeled and chopped

1 stalk of celery, minced finely

4-5 big dark Romaine leaves

2-3 kale leaves only

1/2 bunch of cilantro

1 minced apple (for sweetness)

If I were making this in a juicer instead of a blender, I would have included a couple of carrots for sweetness instead of the apple. My blender can handle apple but it chokes up on carrot!

And for those who'd like a little cooked food, how about some curried vegetables?
This mix includes: sweet onion, sweet red bell pepper, jalepeño, green beans & cauliflower.

Quick and Easy Curry Stir-Fry (serves two)

1 TBS olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, sliced

2 TBS hot curry powder (Madras)

1 sweet onion, cut in wedges or thickly sliced

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1/2 head of cauliflower, broken into florets

1/2 lb of green beans, in 1/4 inch slices

1 plum tomato, sliced

This is not an authentic rendition of Indian curry, but it's a fast, tasty supper. Quantities are approximate, increase based on number of servings desired.

Over medium heat start the garlic and curry powder in the olive oil, as the garlic becomes fragrant (not browned) add onions and red pepper, sauté for a few minutes then add cauliflower and green beans. Toss to coat well with curried oil and continue to cook over medium heat until veggies are crisp tender, toss in sliced tomatoes and combine for another minute or two.

Another option is to add a can of coconut milk toward the end and cook down for a few minutes to make a luscious sauce.

Till next time. . . Eat Well!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Not All Salads Are Created Equal

Often, when someone says 'salad', we think of the standard, boring, tossed salad: lettuce, cuke, tomato, pehaps some onion and a few croutons, all drenched in calorie laden dressing.

Big green salads, loaded with bits of other raw vegetables are a mainstay for the raw foodist and also compromise a good portion of the diet of most vegans. The big energy boost, along with the wealth of nutrients a well combined salad provides, makes it the ideal meal for most of us.

Combinations of fruit and vegetables, leafy greens and crunchy sprouts make interesting salad ingredients. The possibilities are only limited by our imaginations and what's available at the market.

The salad above contains slivered spinach, thinly sliced green cabbage, a little sliced red onion, chopped fresh cilantro, a generous sprinkling of snack sprouts, a bit of fresh pineapple and a sliced banana. This combination seems to have a bit of an Asian theme.

Alternating different dressings can give the same salad a distinctly different flavor and helps to avoid any sense of boredom from eating the same old thing day in and day out.

I highly recommend Nomi Shannon's wonderful book, The Raw Gourmet, for ideas on salad combinations and easy to make raw dressings.

I made up a small amount of Asian Dressing, from Nomi's book, using a fraction of the amounts called for as this was a salad for one, not a family.

With a base of raw tahini, a bit of tamari, some good oil, grated ginger, garlic and a sprinkling of Chinese 5-spice powder, a pinch of cayenne and cumin, it took no time to shake up a little tasty dressing. Dressing leftovers will store well tightly covered in the fridge.

This book is one of my favorite resources providing great ideas for interesting, healthy meals.
The salad pictured below isn't actually in the book, but browsing through the various offerings, all beautifully photographed by Edmond Fong, gave me the basic idea for combining spinach and cabbage as a great green, crunchy base.

Use your imagination and fill the salad bowl with fresh, juicy, crunchy greens and lots of other fabulous fruits and vegetables to round out the meal.

Till next time . . . To eat well; eat raw.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Disguise the Green

Would you like the benefits of a green smoothie without it being green?

The deep color of blackberries rules in this smoothie.

This morning, quite by chance, I blended up a neat combination that included a couple of bright green stalks of kale, apple juice, banana and blackberries. The resulting smoothie is royal purple in color without a trace of bitter kale flavor.

1 cup apple juice

1 frozen banana

1 cup blackberries

2 stalks of kale, curly leaves only - no stems

1/2 cup of water (if needed to thin it out)

I suspect the sweetness of the apple juice contributes a good deal to the smooth, sweet flavor.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Fresh Roll-Ups

Saturday lunch time rolled around and I faced decision time again. With a fridge and counter top filled with a new supply of fresh produce, the options were plentiful. What to have for lunch?

I'd brought home two ears of yellow corn, small but well filled out. Young ears, picked before the kernels had reached full maturity, and definitely before they'd lost a lot of flavor and tenderness. With veggies, smaller is most often better. It's late in the season to find ears of corn still in the husk, with the corn silk not all dried out. I knew I'd best use them up quickly to get the most nutrition and best flavor.

The veggie bin held some odds and ends and while I'd brought home a nice array of organic, vine-ripened tomatoes, they still needed a few days on the window sill to reach their best flavor. But I had a couple dozen grape tomatoes, red and juicy sitting on the counter begging to be used up quickly.

Armed with half a large red bell pepper, a few slices of red onion, a medium sized green jalepeño pepper and some bright green outer leaves of Romaine—I set about preparing lunch.

Aside from the many nutritional benefits derived from eating fresh raw fruits and vegetables, is the added advantage of the ease and speed with which a meal can be prepared. I quickly sliced the kernels from the cobs, minced up the couple of slices of red onion, minced the piece of red pepper and the jalepeño and just for the novelty, instead of simply slicing the grape tomatoes in half, I sliced them up, too.

Once all tossed together, I added the zest from a lemon and the juice from half the lemon. Some fresh herbs would be an interesting optional addition. The large romaine leaves made juicy, fun wraps for scoopfuls of the veggie medley. Have an abundance of napkins handy.
OR . . .

For those who prefer their salad eaten with a fork rather than out of hand, and for those who are not looking for a 100% raw rendition, here's the same salad tossed with the Romaine leaves torn into bite sized pieces, tossed with a little olive oil and a dash of apple cider vinegar and a teaspoon of crumbled goat cheese. Still a great way to include lots of fresh veggies to a meal or as a meal.

Eating out of hand, with no processed additions, is juicy good and lots of fun!

Till next time . . . to eat well; eat raw.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Last October I posted a note about the need for more emphasis on education and prevention and less on detection as a means for women to conquer breast cancer. Here's that post:

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Before you fork out dough for more walks for the cure and pink ribboned paraphernalia . . . think about the industry you're supporting. Cancer is big business. Why is all the money and emphasis being spent on detection and cure? What ever happened to seeking PREVENTION? Why are women not being educated as to how they can prevent this deadly disease instead of waiting to be diagnosed with it and then looking for a cure?

A pharmaceutical pot o' gold, and we all buy into it year after year. Shame on us.
Researchers at the Nordic Cochrane Center in Denmark studied 500,000 women to determine the results of breast cancer screening programs. They found that for every one woman helped by breast cancer screening, ten were harmed through false diagnosis or unnecessary treatments that devastated their health.

October is here again, and the big business of breast cancer is alive and well and extremely profitable. Take a gander at all the companies that have jumped on the bandwagon with their Think Pink messages. Many of these companies are selling products that contribute to cancer. They are asking us to buy more of their products so we can get more cancer, and generous souls that they are, they will donate a few cents from each purchase to the many lucrative, non-profit cancer outfits.

Have you ever thought about why The American Cancer Society isn't called The American Anti-Cancer Society? Must be they are cancer advocates, huh? Think about it, if you're not for it, you must be against it, then conversely, if you aren't against it, you must be for it, right?

Mike Adams, at NewsTarget, has covered this topic with more erudition and depth than I can begin to muster. Read his informative, eye-opening article on Breast Cancer Deception.

As a breast cancer victim, survivor, woman, and concerned citizen, I firmly believe it is a mandate for every woman to become more familiar with the literature on how one can avoid known carcinogens — factors that have been proven to contribute to breast cancer and also, to be knowledgeable about the known steps we can take to prevent this aggressive disease that will strike one in every— how many women?
Currently, it's one in seven. Notice that ratio increases with each passing year as we ingest more synthetic chemicals and toxins from our food, water, air, clothing, cleaning products, etc.

For an eye opening exposé of the correlation between synthetic chemicals to the common, near epidemic, diseases we now face read: The One Hundred Year Lie by Randall Fitzgerald.

Check out an organization that is actively AGAINST breast cancer and all the contributing factors that have proven to be precursors of the dreaded disease. Breast Cancer Action (BCA).

• Help support a worthwhile cause by joining the Think Before You Pink campaign. Contribute financially and use the leverage of your influential purchasing power by NOT purchasing pink items that contribute to breast cancer and / or other debilitating diseases.

• Make it your business to know what's in the products you buy: the food you serve your family, the cleaning agents you use in your home, the cosmetics and beauty products you use on your skin and hair, the synthetic fabrics in your clothing.

• Don't expect the guy who is making his living by selling you these items to inform you they are harmful — find out for yourself if they are harmful or not.

• Don't wait for cancer to strike and then look for a treatment. Make it your first priority to find out how you can contribute to your own well being by taking essential steps to prevent it.

As women we need to unite and speak up for our healthful rights.
• Don't let big business, whether it's the medical community, the pharmaceutical companies, the chemical companies, or factory farm food giants dictate our future. Take Action Now.

Cartoon courtesy of Mike Adams, the Health Ranger at NewsTarget .com.

Till next time . . . Be Well

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Luncheon Smoothie

I spend a lot of time wandering around the 150+ raw food blogs out there. At one point, I jotted down an interesting green smoothie combo and today I happened to have all the necessary ingredients to give it a whirl. I wish I had made a note of where I found this suggestion to give it proper attribution.

My fellow bloggers, Heidi and Justin, at Raw Food Right Now never post someone else's recipes, even with attribution - now I see why. But on the other hand, I'm not copying someone's whole oeuvre, just one little list of ingredients to make a pleasantly mild, palatable green smoothie.

This had no name but I like thinking of it as :

Pale Kale Ale
1 cup green grapes (I used red - see specks)

1 orange, peeled and sectioned

1 ripe pear

1 banana (frozen or fresh)

1 cup kale

1/2 cup water

I added a couple of ice cubes to the glass as I drank it. The taste improves with a bit of chilling.

If you don't have a heavy duty VitaMix, blend the ingredients in a regular blender adding a few at a time, rather than tossing everything in at once and expecting the poor machine to be something it isn't. As you can see, my smoothie isn't perfectly smooth (no VitaMix), there are a few flecks from the grape skin, this doesn't affect the taste and adds a nice little flourish of color.

I started with the grapes and orange and when they were liquified, added the pear and water, then the kale and then finally a frozen banana, broken into pieces. I also found it just a tad bitter, so I blended in a couple of tablespoons of raisins. Two or three dates would work well, too. Just a little bit of natural sweetness to round out the flavors.

I'm getting far more adventurous with savory smoothies — adding a lot of greens to the blender is an adventure! For a host of valuable information on the raw food lifestyle along with a plentiful supply of easy to make smoothies and other recipes, check out this Living and Raw Foods site.

Till next time . . . to eat well; eat raw.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Everything But The Kitchen Sink
My morning smoothie is built of what's in the house. Some days it's a two item deal, cantaloupe and spinach, for instance, and other days it takes on a whole new persona with a myriad of ingredients that is only limited by my imagination.

Take today, I started with a store bought 12 oz container of coconut water (shhhh). Then my standard daily potassium dose — a frozen banana. The freezer provided a handful of mango chunks and a generous handful of sweet black cherries. Blend away.
I turned to get the container of aloe vera flakes and the package of cacao nibs caught my eye. Chocolate and cherry sure sounded like a winner to me. If you've used raw cacao nibs, you know they need a little sweetener to boost the flavor, so I added about a tablespoon of raw agave nectar and gave the concoction a final vigorous blend.

Now I sip and chew. The nibs are adding a whole new experience to my morning meal. I drink my smoothies through a straw - fortunately the straw is large enough to accommodate the nibs and I'm getting a small serving with each slurp. This is a combo that would do well to be tossed in the ice cream maker to be frozen and served as dessert. Guess I'll work on that one.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Purple Passion

It would appear if you've seen one, you've seen them all. These morning fruit smoothies that I've taken to consuming have also sparked great interest, at least on my part, in developing some unique taste treats, pleasant perspectives, assuring nifty nutrients with convenient concocting. I was almost hoist on my own petar with all that alliteration.

The addition of a generous portion of blueberries assures a purple product regardless of the other ingredients. So you can easily make your own purple passion to suit your taste and what's available in the pantry, fridge or freezer.

With summer pretty much behind us, in Florida the thermometer belies the calendar, having a plentiful supply of fresh fruit is limited now to bananas, apples and pears with other selections brought in from far afield. While I try to 'eat local', it's not always feasible. But I do draw the line and try to 'eat regionally' and insist on eating only produce that is grown in the USA. I really don't require berries from Israel, oranges from Central America, asparagus from Peru, etc.

I have now resorted to stocking the freezer with an assortment of frozen fruit along with my own stash of frozen bananas and Georgia peaches. There are marvelous options in the freezer case. Just be sure to read the labels. You want ONLY fruit in that package and preferably organic fruit.

Today's Purple Passion is a sprightly combination:

1 cup of pineapple juice
1 banana
1/2 frozen banana
1 cup of frozen pineapple chunks
1 cup of frozen blueberries
1 handful of dried goji berries (from Good Cause Wellness)
1 spoonful of aloe with raspberry (from Good Cause Wellness)

Enjoy a fruit smoothie anytime of day, but they're especially good for breakfast.

Till next time. . . To eat well; eat raw.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Get Your Goji Berries

This morning's smoothie was an unusual combination of pineapple, banana and blackberries with a handful of dried goji berries tossed in near the end of the blending along with a half teaspoon of aloe with raspberry flakes. The fruit was frozen and I used coconut water to blend it all.

I recently read John Cole's excellent article on the benefits of goji berries featured in NewsTarget and was spurred on to use goji berries more liberally in my daily food preparations. John does talk of a reasonable supplier for the berrries, as opposed to the small packages available on the shelves of our local markets, but he doesn't provide the source. I've purchased certified organic, vegan goji berries from Good Cause Wellness, a reliable supplier of excellent supplements at reasonable prices.
Check out the remarkable aloe products available at Good Cause Wellness, too, and the unique way the aloe is processed to assure the highest quality while providing ultimate benefits.
Adding whole food supplements to our daily diet will boost the nourishment our bodies need, even if we are 100% raw, and are all the more important if we haven't made it to 100% yet!