• our big raw greek picnic

    July 29, 2009

    potluckspread

    It wouldn’t have been Britain without a sprinkle, but we managed to eat everything before ducking for cover.

    I’m talking about Sunday’s Raw Food UK potluck picnic.  Raw Food UK is a friendly Yahoo group I’ve belonged to for a few months now, and this past weekend we decided to get together for a little food and fun.  Lucky me, it happened just down the road from me at Kensington Gardens where I normally run.

    Check out the spread: that’s Sandra’s mango salsa and beetroot flax crackers, Lucy’s chocolate coconut brownies, Debbie’s sunny melons, David’s studded gingerbread, and my tomato corn salsa and guacamole (notice how the stone keeps things perky green!)

    But wait, that was before Gina got there.  Gina, a.k.a. The Raw Greek, came armed with a bunch of can’t-believe-they’re-raw goodies, including these amazing dolmades made with vine leaves from her mother’s garden:

    dolmades

    I actually prefer these to rice-filled leaves because the parsnip is so crisp and refreshing.  These things were like potato chips, and they were gone just as quickly.  I thought they were the star of the spread, until she brought out another winner.  Kiwi leathers:
    kiwileather
    Oh my.  These were reminiscent of the fruit roll-ups I had as a kid but so much better.  And there’s only one ingredient in ’em.  Yep: kiwis!  Really ripe ones, says Gina, blended to a pulp and spread out on a dehydrator.

    Thanks to Sandra for scribbling the details down – as you can see it’s a fairly loose recipe.  Now I just need a garden full of vine leaves.

    The Raw Greek Dolmades
    Makes 30

    30 fresh vine leaves
    4 parsnips
    2 tablespoons mint
    4 tomatoes
    1/2 red onion
    3/4 cup pine nuts
    Lemon juice, olive oil, and salt for marinade

    Marinate the vine leaves overnight in lemon juice, oil, and salt.

    Pulse the parsnips in a food processor; then add remaining ingredients.  Drizzle lemon juice and olive oil marinade from the leaves and continue pulsing until combined.  Fill and roll.

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  • spoilt/spoiled for choice

    July 26, 2009

    I often get completely overwhelmed by the online world.  If I could follow every blog I wanted to – let alone keep up with the news – there would be no time to have a real life to put it all into practice!  And Twitter?  Don’t even get me started.  A lot of people recommended it to me when I launched Green Appetite, but I felt I had to draw the line somewhere.

    In an age of information overload, we need to make choices.  And one I make nearly every day is checking what’s new on Choosing Raw, the popular, well-written blog by Gena in New York City.  I have no idea how she manages a full-time publishing job while running a food coaching business and writing frequent, thoughtful posts that always teach me something new.

    One such entry was her raw zucchini (aka courgette in the UK) hummus.  Given my laisez-faire approach to food, I liked the idea of not using beans and all the prep that goes with them, but I must admit I was skeptical.  Yet as soon as I whipped it up I knew I was onto a winner.  I made some modifications to Gena’s recipe in order to cut down on the fat, and it was still wonderfully filling.  I also cut the salt by half and made up for it with more lemon juice.

    I had it one evening with lightly-steamed broccoli florets, then the next day I followed Gena’s tip and put a dollop of it onto endive (chicory) leaves, adding my own touch of basil, chopped walnuts and freshly-ground black pepper (pictured with my version of the recipe below).  The result: an elegant, no-sweat appetizer that would be perfect for a romantic tête-à-tête.

    new recipe: zippy zucchini hummus

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  • great expectations

    July 24, 2009

    Is it just me, or does it seem like everyone is pregnant?

    Maybe it’s Swine Flu that’s bringing so much attention to this “high-risk group”.  Yet nobody can decide whether it’s the pregnant women or the infected people who should stay home.  Hello!

    Then there are all the Facebook updates from my pregnant friends:  ultrasound pics of “the bean” from one, a “last day at the office” from another.  My good friend Anita posted she was a bit more concerned about her luggage allowance than catching a bug.  She’s one of the most pragmatic – and happiest – people I know.  How disconnected have we become from our nature that we treat pregnancy like a medical condition instead of the natural, self-directed miracle that it is?  Thank goodness for people like Anita.

    I’ve thought a lot about pregnancy since I was a kid.  In fact, I wanted to be an obstetrician so I could deliver babies all day.  Now I get emails like, “Your Lazy Sushi is great, but I threw in some fish for protein.”

    I can understand the concern; I’d be triple examining everything and thinking very carefully if I were eating for two.  Two things to bear in mind:  our “recommended allowances” for protein are grossly inflated, and plants have plenty!  In fact, more diseases are caused by too much protein rather than by too little.  For a thorough explanation of this, check out T. Colin Campbell’s The China Study.

    I’ve talked about Natalia Rose’s books before, and while a diet book is not what you would normally read during pregnancy, The Raw Food Detox Diet is an exception.  Aside from being extremely fluid and down-to-earth when it comes to food, Rose talks at length about her own pregnancies.  When she wasn’t producing enough breast milk, her doctors urged her to drink cow’s milk.  Then she thought, “Wait a minute, where does a cow get her milk?”  With that, she began “eating like a cow,” i.e. lots and lots of greens; and her milk poured forth.

    Speaking of which, one of my expectant friends emailed to say she had her first green smoothie to cope with morning sickness. “I felt like a wilted flower that had been watered.”  Wow!

    Of course, I know that the best teacher is experience.  I’m sure I’ll feel like a newborn when my day comes, and I very much look forward to learning and sharing what I discover.

    Meanwhile, here are a few links I’ve been passing on to moms to be:

    Kristen Suzanne’s candid account of trying to get pregnant.  My thoughts are with her.
    The Business of Being Born – I haven’t actually seen this yet so would appreciate hearing from moms who have.
    Birth As We Know It – I’m really attracted to the concept here, especially after seeing this video about orgasmic birth.

    Best kept secret?  I’ll let you know someday.

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  • freeganism and food waste

    July 21, 2009

    Have I mentioned how much I love BBC Radio 4?  As someone without a TV for nearly five years, Radio 4 is on in my kitchen for a good part of the day.  I catch snippets every time I go in there (which is a lot!) and often end up sticking around to listen because there’s usually something interesting going on.

    Yesterday, the topic was freeganism and the environmental impact of the vast amount of food that goes to waste every day.

    I couldn’t pull myself away listening to freegan Tristram Stuart.   Freegans, of course, forage for dumped food.  While most people find this disgusting, says Stuart, the truly apprehensible thing is how much good food is thrown away.  Stuart talked about how supermarkets deliberately overstock simply to provide what he calls a “cornucopia of choice.” “By wasting so much food, we are hording agricultural land,” he says.  Stopping wasting food, on the other hand, requires little or no sacrifice.   His motto?  Buy what you need, eat what you buy.  Find out how by listening to the show here.  The freeganism part starts at 21:00.

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  • how do you watermelon?

    July 18, 2009

    watermelons

    I promise you I don’t work for Whole Foods, though at this rate I may as well.  I wasn’t even intending to go in there yesterday when this mammoth watermelon display stopped me in my tracks.  Hard to tell scale on here, but these are about twice the size of the melons I showed you in my shopping trip post.  And half the price.

    How is this possible?  I wondered this as I hauled my chosen bowling ball up to the cashier.  He gave me a big smile as if to say, “here comes another one.”  The nice young man (goodness, I sound like I’m getting really old!) told me that in his country (Bangladesh), melons like this are at least £3.  “I don’t know how they can be so cheap,” he said, “And people are buying up to four at a time.”  I asked how they were able to carry them home.  “They call their friends.”

    Wow.  So there you have it.  Watermelon mania in West London.  And now I turn it over to you.  While I am still in love with the now famous Watermelon Kiwi Cooler, I’m sure there are plenty other sweet ideas out there.  So tell me, what have you been doing with your melons?

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  • count calories, live longer?

    July 17, 2009

    A few months ago I went to a talk about caloric restriction (CR) at the Science Museum.  The focus of attention that evening was a very skinny man who looked visibly uncomfortable.  You can’t blame him.  Aside from eating around 1500 calories a day, he had an audience slinging questions at him, from the expected, “What do you eat in a typical day?” to the more confrontational, “What are you afraid of?”

    The most striking thing to me was that the man was 52 years old.  He looked about 38.  And that’s exactly the basis for CR: eat less, live longer.

    He explained that he followed a mostly paleolithic diet consisting of vegetables and lean meats.  He also said he began CR because he didn’t want to get illnesses associated with ageing.

    As I sat there, a million thoughts swirled through my mind.  I agree that eating too much is a drain on the digestive system, and this in turn can accelerate ageing.  But I also believe that the benefits of CR are actually derived from what people are NOT eating than from what they are.  This man said that the first thing he did when he changed his diet was to cut out all the junk and processed food.  Well, there you have it.

    While I respect everyone’s dietary choices, I can’t help notice the negativity and deprivation CR seems to be couched in.  The word “restriction” sums it up.  Isn’t it better to focus on what we CAN have than what we can’t?  That’s my focus on Green Appetite:  joy, not restriction. This is the approach I also use with my clients:  focus on adding, not subtracting. Thankfully, we’re blessed with an enormous bounty of food from the plant kingdom. And guess what?  A lot of it happens to be quite low in calories.

    Actually, consuming fewer calories happens naturally as a result of eating a diet based on whole, plant foods as close to their natural state as possible.  Why?  These foods are nutrient dense, which means our bodies are satisfied on a lot less.  Over time, the body also becomes more efficient at utilizing this nutrition since it’s not bogged down dealing with unnecessary fats, toxins, hormones and all the other unsavoury stuff that’s not on the ingredients lists of many processed foods.

    Going back to our man at the Science Museum, it’s also interesting that he was afraid of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.  Yet we all know that these diseases are claiming more and more children every day.  These aren’t diseases of old age; these are diseases of affluence and the lifestyle that goes with it.

    In case you’re wondering what a person on CR normally eats, check out this article about Paul McGlothin who had been practicing caloric restriction for 10 years at the time it went to press.  Interestingly, the story appeared in Fortune Magazine.

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  • first love, then food

    July 14, 2009

    I’ve been late in telling you about the Dr. Brian Clement event I went to at the end of June.  As many of you know, Dr. Clement and his wife Anna Maria run the Hippocrates Health Institute in Florida, a living-foods destination.

    It was the first time I had heard the Clements speak.  Naturally, they had a lot to say about the ideal growing, procurement and preparation of food, but what stood out for me most was not about the food at all.

    Dr. Clement spent a great deal of time talking about the emotional and spiritual side of eating, something I’ve thought about a lot but had not articulated in the way he did.  Simply, he said that food is a way to realize self-respect.  Feeding ourselves high-vibrational, pure foods is an act of self-love.  And self-love is the pre-requisite for love of others, which is our purpose on this planet. “We are here to give 100% of ourselves with love and compassion,” he said, “Nutrition is only the fuel.”

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  • an old flame: pancakes

    July 12, 2009

    There was a time when I couldn’t make it through a whole weekend without having pancakes, often twice.  And now I haven’t had them in about six months.  It has just been a natural consequence of adopting a high-raw diet; I actually wake up craving something simple and fruity, like that watermelon kiwi cooler I still can’t get enough of.

    I also love Chocolate-Covered Katie, a young vegan gal who knows her food as well as her hyphens.  She’s hosting a pancake-making bonanza (again, gotta love the punctuation as much as the pancakes), so I thought it was time to treat you to one of my all-time favorites.

    new recipe: apple pie pancakes

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  • tapping into london

    July 11, 2009

    My friend Angela, a chiropractor, asked a very good question in response to my post about the ban on bottled water in the Australian town Bundanoon.  Is it safe to drink from the tap in London?  The Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI), which regulates public water supplies in England and Wales, says yes.

    Now, I spent a year-and-a-half rowing on the Thames, and I can tell you it totally put me off drinking tap water.  The media is quite quick in issuing warnings against drinking from the tap during floods, but I still put all my water through a Brita filter.

    However, I was pleased to read that the DWI advises against using water from the hot tap as it may contain high levels of copper.  I’ve known this for some time and am glad to see transparency on their part.  Even if you are boiling it, get your water out of the cold tap.

    What about when you’re at a restaurant?  Should you be asking for tap water?  Some sources say that water interferes with digestion; others contend it’s perfectly fine to drink and dine.  I personally find that if I’m fully hydrated there is no need for water at all during meals.  Except for the occasional wine with dinner, I like to have a fresh juice as a first course when I’m dining out – remember it takes 20-30 minutes for fruit to digest.  And the way to make sure you’re fully hydrated is to enjoy lots of fresh, whole, water-rich fruit and veggies.  The only time I ever feel the need to gulp down a glass of water is upon awakening and after vigorous exercise.

    This topic is specifically important in the context of the UK, since it’s no secret we have another drinking problem here – the kind that flows from an altogether different kind of tap.  Alcohol, as we know, is dehydrating, and the problem is compounded with the concept of “eating is cheating”.  Of course, the only thing you end up cheating during binge drinking is your body.

    The latest “Know Your Limits” campaign (below), which I’m sure was a blast for the ad boys to make, doesn’t really tell me what I should be doing instead of alcohol.  I’d love to whip out my advertising skills and do a really visual campaign about getting drunk on fruit.  That brings me back to the Green Appetite motto: it’s not about what you can’t have, but about the joy that comes from choosing to have what your body really wants.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uym6fcrSda8

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  • down under with bottled water

    July 9, 2009

    Doesn’t Australia have the coolest names?  And now they have a very cool initiative.

    I hadn’t heard of tongue-tripping Bundanoon until today when I learned that the town in New South Wales has banned the sale of bottled water.  The goal?  To curb taxes and protect the environment.  Pretty smart, those wizards of Oz.  It’s great that they’re launching a “Bundy on Tap” plan to provide easy access to tap water, but I wish they’d also let people know that pure, plentiful water is packaged perfectly within fresh fruit and veggies.  It’s definitely a step in the green direction, though.  Here’s another way to save some bills and help your health: pitch the plastic and invest instead in a snazzy SIGG-style bottle.  Yep, I do love word plays.  The cheesier, the better.  Anyone up for a little veggie might?

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