Raw Food 3-Day Starts Tomorrow!

Image by: Manitoba Harvest

Image by: Manitoba Harvest

A totally raw diet has been on my to-do list for a super long time. While I eat lots and lots of raw foods every day — sometimes 75% of what I eat is raw — I’ve never gone completely 100%. Actually, after looking at this raw meal plan, I know why I’ve waited so long! But, you can do anything for 3 days, right? This time around, I’m not going to do anything fancy or extreme. No sprouting or specialized products beyond hemp hearts for making raw hemp milk, and no specialized equipment beyond my juicer, Vitamix blender, and oven to act as a dehydrator running at 115 degrees. I *am* going to try and replicate those pricey kale chips that are coated with “cheesy” raw cashews. Keep an eye out for that final product. So, here goes: Starting tomorrow! With me?

Breakfast: I plan to start the day with herbal tea and a hearty Green Smoothie containing fruits (banana, berries), veggies (greens), raw almond butter (newly found at Trader Joe’s), and raw hemp milk (see recipe below). I’ll continue my philosophy that a healthy high-calorie breakfast will bring you nothing but glory throughout the day. Many raw foodists eat an entire watermelon and 15 bananas for breakfast. That sounds dreadful. Other ideas that sound way better (to me at least…):

Snacks: I plan to chow on raw nuts, fruit, veggies, and my Pulp Crax dipped in raw hummus or spread with mashed avocado. Perhaps some dried fruit or a Larabar.

Lunch: Large fresh veggie salad topped with raw seeds, cold-pressed olive oil (raw foodists like this brand, although I’ll probably stick with the cold-pressed one in my pantry for this 3-day experiment), a teeny tiny bit of apple cider vinegar (can’t find any other easy-to-find vinegars that are raw), and sea salt.

Dinner: Raw soup, warmed up with the spin of the Vitamix. Check out all these raw soup recipes. The Carrot Ginger and Cream of Mushroom look especially tasty. Or, I may go for Skinny Dish’s very own Gazpacho a la Shepherd Street using apple cider vinegar instead of red wine vinegar, omitting the croutons, and doubling up on the avocado. Plus, some raw almonds on the side or crumbled on top.

Dessert: 1 or 2 dates stuffed with raw almond butter. Divine! I tried this recipe for Raw Cookie Dough SHAPE Magazine a while back using raw agave instead of honey & maple syrup. It totally rocked!

Night-time Snack: I have one of these every night, and I can’t imagine that that urge is going to go away with the powers of a raw diet, although I’m totally open to being surprised. I will *plan* on having some fruit and a mini “trail mix” of dried fruit and raw nuts along with my herbal tea.

Doesn’t sound too bad, right? Raw diets claim to give you more energy, better clarity, greater euphoria, better sleep, and even better sex.

For today, happy green foods and St. Patrick’s Day! I’ll see you tomorrow for more green and more raw 🙂

hemp milkRaw Hemp Milk

1 cup raw hemp hearts
4 cups chilled water

Blend for 30-60 second until milky white and smooth. Store in fridge for up to 7 days. Makes 4 cups.

Product Review: Trader Joe’s Sprouted Tofu

Why Sprouted? (we’re beyond ‘Why Tofu?’, right?!) Regular tofu is made from cooked soybeans while sprouted tofu is made from sprouted soybeans. Sprouted tofu is easier to digest (sprouting softens the beans and releases troublesome phytates), and is richer in protein, calcium, and iron. Too good to be true? Nope! Sprouted T is similar in calories, slightly lower in carbohydrates, and slightly higher in fat (but the good omega-3 fish-oil type).

Getting soy foods into your cauldron is a pretty good idea. They help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, especially the bad, garbage-on-the-curb-of-your-arteries LDL kind, while also curbing diabetes and preventing cancer and its recurrence.

Sprouted tofu is used just like regular tofu (in Chocolate Mousse, or any of these 200 recipes), but what about the taste? Sponge-tastic? I surveyed Team Reilly in comparison to Trader Joe’s organic regular extra firm tofu (which is a family favorite). Both tofus were uncooked and untouched.

During a blind taste-test, I asked the team which one they preferred and if they could tell which one was sprouted.

Results:
Bitchin’ Dietitian: Preferred the softer-textured sprouted tofu, and of course knew it was the sprouted tofu b/c she made up the test.
Bitchin’ Husband:  Thought the regular tofu had more flavor, and that the sprouted tofu wasn’t bad, but tasted like nothing. Guessed that the one he preferred was the sprouted tofu, but it was actually the regular tofu.
5-Year-Old: MUCH preferred the sprouted tofu and ate more than her taste-test serving, but thought it was the regular one.
3-Year-Old: MUCH preferred the regular tofu and ate more than his taste-test serving, but thought it was the sprouted one.
1-Year-Old: Didn’t have a preference, and ate both quite vigorously. When asked which one he thought was the sprouted one, he said “eh eh eh.” Translation:  “the one on the left” (the sprouted one).

Interpretation of Results:
Sprouted tofu–with its easier digestion, higher levels of protein, calcium, iron, and omega-3 fats–is a groovy alternative to regular tofu. Since few people eat tofu raw (thank your lucky stars you weren’t part of today’s test), stir-frying, and adding flavors to tofu will change both types similarly. Sounds like a Sprout-Out for TJ’s Sprouted Tofu!

Recipe op?… What are your favorite ways to do tofu, or, now, sprouted tofu?

Gluten-Free and Fabulous

It seems like no matter where I am… grocery store, nutrition counseling clinic, REI, playground… I find myself recommending a gluten-free 10-day experiment to folks who are feeling zapped on energy, gassy, irritable, unable to focus, and unexplainably bummed out. So, despite feeling fantastic, focused, and strangely excited by everyday chores, I decided to do, track, and share my own dietitian-approved gluten-free day.

Gluten–which is the Latin word for “glue” (tasty!)–is the protein portion of a wheat kernel, and important in giving wheat flour it’s elasticity. You may have heard of Seitan, aka the “wheat meat”, which is pure wheat gluten, and pure protein. Gluten, unfortunately, is responsible for a whole variety of allergies ranging from very mild and often unnoticeable to extremely painful, disruptive, and seriously serious (such is the case with Celiac disease). Gluten also tends to cause inflammation, and while I’m personally quite a fan of the glue myself, it’s amazing how great people feel after ditching it for 10+ days. Here’s how my gluten-free day tasted:

Breakfast
Gigantic glass of water, 2 cups coffee with soy creamer & sugar
1 slice of DELICIOUS Udi’s Gluten-Free Whole Grain Bread (Know of any good egg-free, gluten-free breads?)
Hot cereal made with 1 cup cooked quinoa, raisins, chopped apple, vanilla soymilk, and cinnamon

AM Snack
Water
1 Trader Joe’s FIBERFUL fruit bar
1 plum

Lunch
Water
1 cup baby carrots
Large arugula salad with 3 pieces of homemade baked tofu (recipe in upcoming Trader Joe’s Skinny Dish! book)
2 gluten-free Sesame Cherry Chewies (again in the upcoming Trader Joe’s Skinny Dish! book)
Rice crackers
2 small squares dark chocolate

PM Snack
Water
Apple
Trader Joe’s Roasted Seaweed Snack (whole package)
1/2 Haas avocado w/ sea salt (HEAVENLY!)

Dinner
Water (skipping the Hefeweizen, but could opt for a gluten-free beer)
2 corn tortillas with vegetarian refried beans and loads of stir-fried bell peppers

Late-Night Snack
Water
1 slice Udi’s Gluten-Free Whole Grain Bread with peanut butter and sliced banana
Chamomile tea

What I Wanted to Eat But Had to Pass Up…
The kids’ leftover cinnamon raisin toast at breakfast, pretzel sticks, graham crackers, a whole grain tortilla, and a whoopie pie.

If you have the right ingredients on hand, this is totally doable, tasty, and energizing! Other glue-free ideas?