By Tina Washburn-Patz
Why go raw? Did the glow of a raw foodie friend entice you? Did you go raw to slim down? Or, like me, did you have to go to bat with an illness that medicine and doctors were never going to cure? Whatever your reason, you are on the right path, but it takes diligence and care to stay there.
KISS – “keep it simple, stupid” – is my mantra. I am a busy personal Superfood Chef, but I have developed some simple routines for keeping my raw diet varied, complete and uncomplicated.
Eat What is in Season
I am a firm believer in eating what is in season. Seasonal produce boosts presentation and flavor as well as helps ensure a variety of vital nutrients are flowing through your veins. For fresh, seasonal fruits and veggies, frequent your local farmer’s and co–op markets. A tip for helping you plan your meals and snacks is to get friendly with the staff and growers. Ask them what they’ll be bringing in over the next few days or weeks. This way you can think ahead for what dishes you may want to prepare and pick up the fresh items when they arrive.
Find Your “Daily Bread”
Mine is a gigantic salad. I have one every single day and do my best to chew slowly to the last bite. This lasts for at least 30 to 45 min. Seriously. But I do it while writing recipes or planning menus. For your reading pleasure, below is what a typical daily salad might include:
Arugula (torn), spinach (torn), purple cabbage (shredded), carrots (grated), radish (quartered), zucchini (ribbons), avocado (cubed), a variety of sprouts, Raw Pumpkin Seeds, Raw Sunflower Seeds, Raw Hemp Seeds, red beet (small cube), celery leaves (chopped), kohlrabi (julienne), fennel (shaved), red onion (crescent), basil (torn), parsley (chopped), mint (chopped), cilantro (chopped), sprouted French green lentils and a delicious dressing made with the juice of one lemon, a Tbs. of Pumpkin Seed Oil, a Tbs. of Stone Pressed Olive Oil, a tsp. of Dark Agave Nectar, Himalayan salt and cracked black pepper.
Now, there is only one way I get my salad prepared every day in a flash and that is to have all my goodies prepped beforehand. I know you’ve heard this before and you absolutely must do it! Choose your day(s) for shopping when you know you won’t be rushed. Select your goods (and chat it up with the produce guy or girl) and when you get home, wash, peel, chop, cube, julienne, mince, cut, quarter, shave and grate your produce. Please note all the different prepping methods I mentioned. It is more fun and tasty when your veggies are cut into different shapes and sizes. It’s psychologically more satisfying (well, I don’t know if that is a proven fact, but it works for my clients and me). Also, experiment! One week, cube your beets and grate them the next. Each preparation will completely change the texture and taste of your dish.
The other food prep I am religious about is soaking and sprouting. There isn’t a day that passes you won’t find glass bowls of quinoa, buckwheat, hemp, lentils, nuts and seeds draped with thin cloths randomly placed on my counter tops. Make this a routine of yours, too. Start at night with soaking and then begin the next day with steps for sprouting. Then select a couple more items to begin soaking and get your rotation rhythm going.
Now my final thought: breathe. I know you probably weren’t expecting that, but this is really important stuff. People simply do not breathe enough and doing so can help aid digestion, improve circulation, increase energy, encourage healthy elimination of waste and toxins, calm the mind and…I could go on forever. Train your brain to check in with itself and ask, “Am I breathing?” When you do this, you will likely notice you weren’t breathing, or at least not effectively. Take 4 or 5 deep breaths, from your belly, in through your nose and out through your nose. Make it audible. Let your mind know, you are breathing. Try to do this multiple times per day. It only takes about 2 minutes and will do wonders for your health, your state of mind and your invigorating raw life.
That’s it. A few simple rules to follow that can keep you on track, raw and feeling great!
To learn more about Tina and Urban Cuisine, please visit Urban CuisineTina, Founder and President of Urban Cuisine, has been preparing meals for her private chef clientele for over 10 years. Though skilled in the preparation of most cuisines, she specializes in pure meals, utilizing superfoods as often as possible. Tina has been featured in Cooking Light Magazine, participated in San Diego Magazine’s Your Recipe Contest, was a guest on Fox 6 San Diego and most recently was a contestant on the Food Network’s Ultimate Recipe Showdown.