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Raw Food Fail

Glitches and poor planning put damper on Week 2 of resolution

My raw food resolution is hitting some rocky stretches. While my raw food intake dropped last week, I held strong in other respects:

  • I no longer eat processed foods in the morning, thanks in large part to a kitchen I’ve made sure to keep well stocked with healthy foods.
  • I did three Pilates sessions and went on several long walks—an improvement from last week.

That’s about where my progress ended.

As I got more involved in projects throughout the week, I found it harder to put down my work to make my meals, well, interesting. I'm always ready to pull together a good salad. But if this raw food lifestyle is going to take root, I have to get more creative than tossing raw greens together.

I thought I could hit my raw food quota simply by winging it. Wrong. That only led to many a pizza-and-salad meals. I thought I could deviate from the diet for a day or two, then jump back in at will. Wrong. It is so much easier to just stay on the diet.

The one abiding lesson: I will plan my meals farther in advance.

Monday

Monday was a fairly healthy day—not quite my target goal of 70 percent raw, but healthy nonetheless. Breakfast consisted of steel-cut oatmeal, dried figs, blueberries, almonds and a banana. I had a little pizza and a salad for lunch. Dinner was a vegetarian burger and salad.

Then my fried-food sins of the weekend—need I remind you of caving into to my Ruby Tuesdays craving?—caught up with me: I had heartburn that just wouldn’t quit and felt hungry all evening. I craved more pizza (cutting out cheese is going to be a big battle) and wanted fried foods and carbs. Lots and lots of carbs.

Tuesday

Hunger ruled the day. I had really wanted to go totally raw. Again, I think it comes back to planning. I had so much work to do and didn’t take the time to plan interesting meals.

So when dinnertime came, I went for some harvest soup—a delicious soup, no doubt, but the same raw soup I ate on Friday. It wasn’t long before I was gorging on ramen noodle soup, corn chips and popcorn. Lo and behold I'm still hungry. I’m going to need to plan better, eat earlier, and make my raw food meals more interesting if I’m going to be able to resist the snack drawer.

Wednesday

Wednesday started out well; steel-cut oatmeal, figs, walnuts, raisins, and an apple. Oatmeal may have a bad rep for being bland, but with some nice fresh fruit, it never fails to make me feel full and satisfied.

At noon my computer started shutting off and on every half hour. I then lost more than four hours trying to fix it while finishing a work project. Amidst the hassle and distraction, I ate a delicious green smoothie for lunch and a medium-sized—OK, large—pizza for dinner. While I've decided not to beat myself up when eating dairy once in a while, that pizza was my weekly intake all in one meal.

I'm stressed, super hungry and craving junk food, and honestly, don't care about my raw food resolution.

Thursday

I spent my afternoon trying to fix my computer rather than writing a story. What should have taken one or two hours ended up taking more than five—and still left me with a useless computer. Those are hours I can never get back.

I was a writer without a computer: at this point I didn't much care if I was eating raw or not. Lunch: tabbouleh, fresh sweet peas and quiche. Dinner: a vegan burrito from Chipotle.

Friday

After Geek Squad finally declared my computer kaput, I got home to realize that I don't have any raw food cookbooks. Even if I made the trip to the grocery store to reload on fresh veggies, I wouldn't be able to look up any new recipes. A salad and pasta will have to do for tonight.

Lesson Learned.

Over the weekend I ate lots of fresh vegetables and fruit. More importantly, I stocked up on some exotic fruit for green smoothies, bok choy and squash for some raw food recipes.

This week, no more throwing something together at dinnertime. I have recipes and ingredients already lined up, like these from Natalia at Glowing Temple. Try them yourselves and let's compare notes at the end of the week…

Fettuccine with Fresh Tomato & Herb Sauce
(serves two)

For the fettuccine:

  • 3 tablespoons cold-pressed olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed chili pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • 3 medium zucchini

In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, garlic, chili and salt. Set aside. Wash and peel your zucchini. Using the peeler, create long strips of fettuccine about ¼-inch to ½-inch wide. Keep rotating the zucchini so that you are peeling all edges rather than continuously peeling in the same spot.

When you get to the center of the zucchini and it becomes quite seedy, stop peeling and set aside. Save for later and use in a green juice, salad or blended soup. Continue peeling the remaining zucchini according to this method. Toss all of your fettuccine with the garlic oil. Set aside and make the sauce.

For the sauce:

  • 3 Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • 1 tablespoon cold-pressed olive oil
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh basil
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1½ teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 small scallion, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup hemp seed

In a large bowl, toss all ingredients together and mix well. Strain the pasta as it will have released a lot of liquid. Divide over two plates. Top each serving of pasta with half of the tomato sauce. Alternately, you can toss everything together in one big bowl and serve that way.

Three-Herb Pesto Canapés

(makes three dozen)

For the pesto:

  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup parsley leaves (well packed)
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves (well packed)
  • 1 tablespoon thyme leaves (well packed)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 3/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • 1 cup cold-pressed olive oil
  • 1 cup raw sesame seed

Place the peeled garlic cloves in a food processor fit with the s-blade. Process to chop. Add the parsley, mint, thyme, lemon juice, zest and salt. Process to finely chop the herbs. Scrape down the sides of the food processor. Add the olive oil and sesame seed and process once again until well combined.

For the assembly:

  • pesto from above recipe
  • 2 medium cucumbers
  • 9 cherry tomatoes
  • 9 sun-dried black olives, pitted
  • 36 small sprigs of thyme

Wash your cucumbers and peel if waxed. Or, peel every ½-inch to make a decorative pattern. Cut into ¼-inch thick rounds. Slice each cherry tomato into four even rounds. Slice each olive into four even rounds. Pick out your 36 best, most evenly sized cucumber rounds. Top each cucumber with two teaspoons of pesto. Place a cherry tomato slice on top of the pesto. Top the cherry tomato with an olive slice. Place a tiny sprig of thyme in the olive's hole. Arrange canapés neatly on a large platter.

Luz Montes January 19, 2011 at 03:31 PM
How much did you spend at the grocery store for any one of the recipes ?
V. Michelle Bernard January 19, 2011 at 09:55 PM
I spent $15 on ingredients for both recipes: the herbs, a lemon, tomatos, cucumbers, onions, a pepper and the olives. I had the rest of the ingredients already. I made the Fettuccine with Fresh Tomato & Herb Sauce for lunch and only used about a 1/4th of the herbs. So, I think I could make both of the recipes at least twice on what I bought this week. I'll try to find other recipes that use those ingredients though.

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