Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Eat Your Veggies

What is it we all KNOW to do? ... Eat our veggies. Fitness professionals, Weight Watchers, nutritionists and the like will all tell you that you can almost eat as many vegetables as you want as often as you want and it will help you lose weight. Heck, an entire eating plan revolves around the concept... ever heard of a little thing called Volumetrics!?! But what if I told you that I had a proven method to not just eat your vegetables, but get more vitamins, minerals and enzymes from them and actually use them to substitute the things you already love? Wow... you'd say that I sounded like a pitch man from a sales infomercial! hahahaha! Well, I'm not selling anything, but I do want to share the proven method. When I say proven method, I mean that it has proven itself true to work for me. It may or may not work for you, but ask your doctor and see what they think about RAW FOOD!

Actually it's just raw fruit, vegetables, seeds and nuts. I still eat cooked meat (organic of course). But for me it's been one of the greatest changes that I have made in my life. It actually has cut my time in the kitchen to about half... (who wouldn't love that?), refined sugar has been COMPLETELY eliminated and I feel better than I've felt in a very long time. But I think there are a few misconceptions about raw food and while I will touch on those later in this post, I want to start on MY change to raw food.

DESSERTS! We all love them...that is what has inspired this year's Halloween give away challenge! I just love the desserts! So when I discussed with my sister about increasing the amount of raw fruit and vegetables in my diet, her mention of her new raw food diet outlining the wonderful dishes she could create: chili rellenos, pudding, pies, cakes and ice creams, made my ears perk up! What!?! You can make ice cream out of raw food???? Yep, you sure can! Using coconut water, coconut oil, agave nectar and cashews as a base instead of sugar, eggs and milk, the ice cream options are endless!!! And, by the way, coconut is a superfood. The very first recipe I made was Almond Milk... the second, ICE CREAM!!! It was the most delicious ice cream I ever had, so it didn't take me long to figure out that if I started replacing JUST my desserts with raw food options, it would be a great introduction into the world of raw food preparation as well as cutting a majority of the bad and empty calories I was currently consuming.

Now... a warning... ice cream and desserts are not enough as there aren't a lot of green leafy veggies in the raw food dessert recipes. But it IS a super yummy place to start. When you realize that the desserts can taste this good, it gives you the drive to make even more and you quickly realize that the raw pizza and tacos, the raw "fettuchini" or garlic flax crackers (and especially the lettuce wraps) taste BETTER than anything you can buy at a store. For me, raw desserts opened up a whole new world of eating... mostly guilt free. As I said before, I do still eat cooked meat, I just make a larger effort to NOT COOK the fruit and vegetables and instead, prepare them in a way that makes me feel like I'm cheating! Really gang! The raw "pumpkin" pie rocks (pssst... it's made out of carrots)!!!

Now, about those misconceptions. Raw food diets are hard. No, they are not hard, they are different. It's a different way to prepare food...one that you aren't used to. Methods for sprouting seeds and soaking nuts are involved and may require three minutes in the kitchen to put those seeds and nuts in water. Actual time in the kitchen is reduced because there isn't any real "cooking" going on. I do use my dehydrator quite a bit which will warm food, but in order to be considered "raw", nothing can be heated above 115 degrees which is the temperature that enzymes are said to be killed. But overall, my time spent in my kitchen is cut in half, and you know what they say, "time is money". That brings me to the second misconception. It costs too much to eat a raw diet. It honestly does not cost any more than any other diet. I did find that eating raw AND 100% organic has cost a little bit more, but my health is absolutely worth the small added expense. And regarding the cost of additional kitchen gadgets...well, that is a real expense, but don't feel like you have to run out and buy a super expensive dehydrator or food processor! Instead of a dehydrator, set your oven on the lowest setting (mine is 170 degrees) and then prop the oven door open. A standard kitchen thermometer will help you make sure that the temp doesn't go above 115 degrees. For those that are energy conscious.. you can even dehydrate in the sun during the right seasons. Instead of a food processor, a good sharp knife will do the trick just fine. The added tools for living a raw food lifestyle are nice, but not a necessity. Besides, some of the tools of the trade are probably already in your kitchen (i.e. high speed blender, food processor, juicer). I've also found my favorite kitchen gadgets on ebay and craigslist for less than half of the retail price. Hopefully this wets your appetites for some healthy dessert creations. If it does...then be sure to register as a follower of my blog and submit your healthy dessert creation to fittertwit@yahoo.com. Please be sure that the dessert is Halloween themed, and that you include pictures with your recipe entry.

NOTE: Contest/give away does NOT require that the submissions be raw recipes, only that they are healthy. Our guest judge, Heather Frey of http://www.smashfit.com/ will decide whose recipe is the healthiest and most creative. Can't wait to see everyone's entries!!! :) Also... the pics attached to this post are two decadent real chocolate desserts from Ani's Raw Food Desserts. This book is part of the prize winner's haul.... so far! LOL!

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