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.

5 Tips for Great Skin

Skin-Healthy Fruits & Veggies

Battling acne, worried about wrinkles, skin looking blah, or wondering what to do to prevent skin cancer? Foods to the rescue, of course! Here are 5 nutrition tips to help you tackle them all:

1. Dairy foods (milk, yogurt, sour cream, cheese, ice cream, frozen yogurt, etc.) and refined carbs (sugar, candy, soda, white pasta, white bread, white rice, etc.) with their resulting insulin spike are really, really good at making pimples. Drop both for 3 weeks and see your skin clear up.  More on the whys here.

2. Get enough protein, and get it from plants to help prevent and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Skin is made of protein, and an adequate supply is needed to prevent its deterioration. Your daily protein needs are based on your body weight and are equivalent to your body weight in lbs X 0.36. So, a 180-lb. person needs 65 grams of protein a day. But, you can’t eat it all at once — it should come at 15-20 gram increments throughout the day. Plant proteins are best because they’re moderate while still being sufficient in protein (too much protein harms your kidneys, bones, and encourages weight gain), and some are rich in another wrinkle-destroying diva: Vitamin E. Vitamin E is highest in sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts, and spinach. Vitamin E also protects your skin from melanoma. Eat up!

3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids aren’t just important for heart health. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that a eating Linoleic Acid-rich foods (walnuts, flaxseeds, and flaxseed meal) greatly reduces wrinkle formation and may even help eliminate wrinkles that have already formed. Use flaxseed meal as an egg substitute in baking and French toast, or toss it into smoothies or cereal. Wrinkles be gone!

4. Upping your intake of Red, Orange, Yellow, and Dark Green fruits and veggies by just 1 serving a day is likely to make your skin look healthier and more attractive in just 6 weeks. A study done with Scottish college students showed exactly that. The antioxidants and rich pigments in colorful fruits and veggies — specifically beta-carotene an lycopene — greatly affect skin tone and encourage rosier, healthier-looking cheeks and skin. A Bonus: These veggies and fruits are also rich in Vitamin C, which helps prevent the free-radical damage responsible for most skin cancers. As a goal, try for 4 servings of veggies and 3 servings of fruit each day. Rainbow power!

5. Aside from wearing your SPF while all the while still getting adequate Vitamin D, Caffeine may actually help you prevent skin cancer. Research from Harvard’s Nurses Health Study showed a 20% decreased risk in women who drank 3 or more cups of coffee a day. Research still emerging on this one, but coffee drinkers may just be ok afterall.

See recipes here for ideas on including all these tips in your food day.

Celery Root: The Unsung Vegetable Hero

Celery Root by Lee Court Farms, found on WiveswithKnives.net

Guest Post by Robyn Selman

You don’t see recipes for celery root (celeriac) very often. It’s definitely one of the ugly ducklings at the produce stand. But once you peel off that gnarly brown exterior (resembling the surface of the moon), you get a low-starch, low-calorie root vegetable that smells and tastes like a mixture of celery and parsley, and is a champion source of fiber, potassium, and cancer-fighting antioxidants. When baked until tender, the texture reminds me of cooked carrots. I always find myself turning to Mark Bittman’s cookbooks when I want to cook with a less familiar vegetable, and I was not disappointed with this recipe. Gratins with root vegetables make perfect winter meals, especially when you add beans and whole grains to make them really filling.

White Bean and Celery Root Gratin with Bulgur Crust
Adapted from Mark Bittman – How to Cook Everything Vegetarian
Serves 4

½ cup fine-grind bulgur
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing the baking dish and drizzling
1 ½ pounds celery root, peeled, and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
1 onion, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 cans cannellini (white kidney) beans, drained but still moist, liquid reserved
1 teaspoon sweet or Spanish smoked paprika
2 teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram leaves or 1 teaspoon dried or fresh oregano

Photo by Robyn Selman

Put the bulgur into a heatproof bowl and pour 1 cup boiling water over the top. Stir, then cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 15-20 minutes. Once the water has absorbed, fluff with a fork, drizzle with a little oil, season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

Lightly oil a 2-quart soufflé dish, gratin dish, or a 9×13 inch baking pan and set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 °F.

In a large deep skillet, add 3 tablespoons of oil and heat over medium heat. When hot, add the celery root and cook for about 8 minutes, until it starts to brown. Add the onion and some salt and pepper and cook for another 3 minutes or so, until the vegetables are soft and golden brown.

Off heat, stir in the garlic, beans, paprika, and herbs. Add some of the reserved bean liquid if it seems dry (it should resemble a thick stew). Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed.

Spread the bean and vegetable mixture into the pre-oiled pan. Top evenly with the bulgur and drizzle a little olive oil over the top. Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the edges and top are browned and bubbling happily. The time might vary depending on how deep your baking dish is.

Serve immediately or let rest for up to an hour and serve at room temperature.

If you can’t find finely ground bulgur at your store (I couldn’t), then you should just buy regular bulgur and grind it yourself in a coffee or spice grinder at home. The first time I made this recipe I did not grind it and I was sorry. The bulgur pieces became so hard from baking that it hurt my teeth to bite down on them. So I made it again, this time grinding it first in my small coffee grinder reserved for spices until it looked similar to fine bread crumbs, and the result was MUCH better. Just goes to show that recipe instructions are chosen for good reasons and I should really pay attention to them!

Don’t have celery root? Other vegetables you can use include: potatoes, parsnips, eggplant, cauliflower, broccoli, fennel, carrots, summer squash, green beans, asparagus, or cabbage.

Robyn Selman is a recovering “picky eater.” After eating pre-packaged, processed foods her whole life she decided to make the switch to fresh, homemade meals and has never looked back. Now she approaches cooking with the mindset of “the more vegetables, the better” and loves trying out new recipes. She tries to buy local whenever possible and loves Community Supported Agriculture. Her life happily revolves around her work, her husband, and their crazy cat. She loves board games, hiking, dancing, good books, and good coffee. You can read more on her blog, Robyn Cooks.