Thursday, August 19, 2010

KISS - Keep It Simple Sweetheart

A few years back I decided to make a change in my diet to incorporate raw fruit and veggies. As with many who attempt the raw food lifestyle (I do still eat meat, just much less and I try never to cook my veggies), I over-complicated things. But I've discovered two key tips that EASILY incorporate raw food into my diet... mix of flavors and marinate, marinate, marinate!

1.) Green smoothies ROCK! Mixing 60% tropical fruits and 40% dark green leafy vegetables together makes for an AWESOME drink!!! What an exotic and fancy way to get 5 servings of fruit and vegetables into your diet without a lot of work! Today I mixed 2 cups of spinach with 1 mango, 1 orange, 1 banana and 1/2 of a large pineapple with a splash of water into my Vitamix blender (you REALLY need a high speed blender for these smoothies) and got a wonderful drink that started out my morning quite nicely. Tomorrow I'm mixing coconut water, 1/2 cup coconut meat, 1 mango, 1/2 of a large pineapple with 1 - 1.5 cups of dandelion greens for another amazing and exotic elixir!
Once I got past the green color and really TASTED these smoothies, I discovered that the flavor is like nothing I've tasted before and I love it! WHY haven't I tasted anything like this before? Well.... American diets are lacking in their consumption of the all-important green leafy veggies. But if you like the clean (and surprisingly appetizing) smell of freshly mown grass with a topnote of tropical bliss, then you will LOVE green smoothies as much as I do. The added bonus, I get my live fruit and veggies in a crisp cold drink without slaving in a hot kitchen to prepare a meal. A little bit of rinsing, peeling and chopping and I'm minutes away from a delicious health-building drink that is filling and LOADED with vitamins, minerals, protein..... power!
2) Bathing my food with flavor: when I first decided to shift to raw foods, I bought tons of books on the raw lifestyle and preparing gourmet raw dishes. Most of the recipe books that I gravitated towards included interesting substitutes for my favorite dishes (i.e. raw lasagna, raw tacos with mock beans and meat, raw 'rice' and 'pastas'). What I've discovered is that all of those "substitutions" were substituting the very thing that I was trying to get away from.... high fat and calories. The reality was, I was making a change! Substituting tacos for mock tacos was still giving me tacos with still a lot of work. Now don't get me wrong, raw mock tacos are a MILLION times better than the tacos I was replacing... what I'm talking about here is the mindset. I put in a ton of time and energy creating a whole slew of substitutions so I could keep eating what I was eating. But once I changed my mindset that I was changing how I eat, I discovered that simplicity is again key.

Even when I cook meat the simplest of techniques, marinading, usually makes my dishes SING! So I put away all my "gourmet" raw food recipe books and started looking for raw sauce and marinade recipes. I now marinate my meat and veggies in the same sauce (different containers of course). My sauces and marinades are raw and healthy and add a huge punch of flavor that makes the entire meal awesome.

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