I’ve always loved food. I can remember many nights laying in bed, sleepily and giddily pondering what I would have for breakfast the next morning. I love going to the farmers market and delighting in the beautiful colors of fresh fruits and veggies as they wait for a hungry tummy to nourish. I love browsing recipes and thinking about all of the potential for what’s to come in my victual future. I love the process of making food, from the physical act of chopping, dicing, slicing and mixing, down to cleaning up after the work is done and the meal enjoyed.
Food… yes please!
After completing my recent 15-day body cleansing, I was feeling unsure about how to proceed. Two weeks of eating a raw vegan diet left me feeling clean, light, energetic, and generally cheery. I had several people tell me how svelte, happy and glowing I looked, which was extremely positive reinforcement! But was vegan raw 100% of the time for me? What about… cheese! And… morning glory muffins! And… roasted brussel sprouts! And… meat! But on the other hand, I felt SO GOOD, how could I give up that feeling?!
It’s now been nearly four weeks that I’ve been eating raw vegan, with one exception of one lovely vegetarian meal made by a friend. I haven’t been eating any refined flours or sugars, no grains of any type, and only “healthy fats”. I have a stable, constant energy supply throughout each and every day. And basically, I just feel really, really good.
In the past few weeks I’ve also read two very inspiring books: Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food and Jane Goodall’s Harvest for Hope. Both books tackle subjects surrounding the way “food” in this country has become so centered on factory farming, mono-cultural crop fields, GMO, adding “nutrients” to foodlike substances, etc. (Note: I do think food science has great potential, but not as it is being instituted now). Both books also offer a lot of hope with stories of small farmers standing tall, the rise of farmers markets and CSA’s, and suggestions on things we can do to create change, even if those things may seem too small to make a difference. I believe that every little bit matters. Every change for the positive matters.
Pollan’s motto states: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” I wholeheartedly agree with this. I feel so very alive when I eat real, whole foods in modest quantities. Food grown in dirt. Food without a nearly unpronounceable list of ingredients. Simply, food.
Something else that stuck with me from In Defense of Food was the phrase “Shake the hand that feeds you.” I love this concept – creating a relationship with the farmers and folks who bring fresh, whole foods into my world. If nothing else, I would love to thank them.
On Tuesday of this week, I went to my local Highland Park farmers market and stumbled upon the lovely folks from Shear Rock Farms. They had a wonderful, interesting array of fresh, vibrant greens and other lovely veggies. I ended up buying some truly delicious heirloom broccoli, which I made into a tasty raw salad tonight (recipe below). After only one visit to their booth, I’m already a fan of this farm, and plan to visit them again this Friday in Echo Park with hopes of learning more about what they do.
My diet for the past for weeks has consisted (99%) of fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. I’ve eaten at least three pounds of miso paste (in a variety of dishes), countless avocados (so much yum!), lots of coconut oil, spirulina, maca, and matcha. (I’m in love with nutritional yeast!) I’ve been drinking green tea every morning. In the afternoons, I enjoy my usual home-brewed kombucha (I’ll be posting about that soon). I’d like to start reintroducing beans and lentils, as well as some whole grains (whether raw sprouted or cooked). I feel open to eating an egg every now and then, maybe even a little goat dairy in small amounts, and… maybe even a little meat or fish, if I know where it came from and how it was treated and handled. Lastly, I love not worrying about my weight, but instead, being more conscious of how I feel based on my choices, and trusting that feeling above all else.
So where does this leave me in regards to how I’ll identify with food as I move forward in life? I’m not keen on labels, and I don’t feel particularly fond of putting one onto myself (or anyone else!). I don’t want to define myself in rigid terms, and then potentially feel bad if I decide to eat something outside of what fits within that definition. I like being flexible and feeling empowered with knowledge, clarity, and trust about what I know makes me feel good, and what I believe is good for myself and the planet at large.
So my plan, for the time being, is to… Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
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Raw Broccoli Salad in Spicy Sesame Sauce
Makes 1 Ample Serving
(note: measurements are approximate)
2 cups chopped heirloom broccoli
1/2 cup chopped cabbage
1/2 tsp. raw apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. toasted sesame oil
dash of red pepper flakes
Mix all ingredients and let sit for at least one hour. Enjoy!