My experience eating raw

If you’ve read my previous post on juicing, you know I’ve been dealing with some energy and digestive issues. As cooked carbs made me extra sleepy after eating them, I turned to raw foods to see if it would change anything. Well, it did!

rainbow-salad

Now, let me tell you my backstory with raw foods. I have a friend who is completely hooked on raw foods. I mean, she does juice cleanses, grows her own sprouts and eats mainly raw all year round. She has been an inspiration, and I’ve learned a lot by talking and cooking with her. As much as I admire her, I always thought that her eating raw was a bit extreme, that it couldn’t be possible for her to get all the nutrients she needed, and that she would sooner or later hit a health problem because of it. I thought all of that despite the fact that I’ve known her for years, and that she is the banner girl of health. All that to say, I was a bit skeptic as to raw foods. Nonetheless, I decided to give it a try as cooked vegan food seemed to have betrayed me.

I started by switching my morning oatmeal to green smoothies. I was so sad to say goodbye to my beloved oats, but I had to admit that only after a few days, my energy levels in the morning were great. No more morning naps! That was a huge improvement.

After this success, I went on a search for more raw recipes and stumbled upon Kate Fruit Flowers’ Freedom Foods ebook. I bought the ebook, and was glad to see that all her recipes were simple enough and didn’t require funky, impossible to find ingredients.

Now, if you are doubtful that raw foods can be good, you must try out some of her recipes! I’ve never had a cookbook where every recipe is delicious! I’m completely hooked!

Now, the recipes are delicious, but how does eating raw make me feel?

G-R-E-A-T!

My energy levels are consistently high throughout the day: no more naps! My digestion is easy: no more bloating! But, most of all, I don’t feel like I’m starving! With Kate’s ebook I’ve discovered great recipes that keep me full and energized enough to work, train and do everything else I have to do. Another great advantage of going raw is that I feel like everything I eat tastes better: I’m enjoying my fresh fruits and vegetables so much more.

I’m enjoying raw foods so much, especially now that it is summer. As everything is in season and delicious, it’s been fairly easy to find great produce for cheap. I’m looking for any tips you might have for eating raw in the winter, so don’t hesitate to comment below!

I’ve been away juicing!

For the last couple of months, I’ve had a lot of trouble finding foods that made me feel good and energized. Either the food I craved was too heavy and would make me fall asleep (I took a lot of naps!) feeling like a giant slug, or it was not nourishing enough and would leave me hangry. It came to a point where all my thoughts and decisions were around food, and, trust me, that’s not healthy! I spent a lot of time reading and watching documentaries (resources coming up in my next post!), and I decided to try out incorporating lots and lots and lots and lots of greens to every meal.

green juice

I started with super green smoothies incorporating spinach, baby kale, arugula and spirulina. It was a revolution! I finally didn’t feel like I needed to go back to bed as soon as I had breakfast, and that was amazing! When making my smoothies, I always aimed for 3/4 greens to 1/4 fruits. I also added some protein powder or pumpkin seeds to make it a complete meal. The finishing touch: 1 or 2 nuts or some chia seeds for some healthy fats. These smoothies not only taste good, they are packed with nutrients! After starting my days with these for a few days, I could see a real difference in my energy levels. I am completely hooked on them!

Because greens had such an amazing effect, I decided to take it one step further and invest in a juicer. I watched so many videos comparing different juicers, but I finally set my heart (and money) on an Omega juicer. I’ve never been so happy to spend almost 400$ on a machine! The juicer is super easy to use, easy to clean and takes little space on my counter. This machine feels strong and sturdy. I’m also very pleased with the 10 years guarantee.  The best part of it all though is that this is an amazing juicer!

I’ve been using it to juice lots and lots of leafy greens like kale, parsley, spinach, coriander, lettuce and cabbage without any issue. Harder vegetables are just as easy: beets (and their greens) and carrots just zoom through. And, of course, everything in between is super simple as well: cucumber, apples, lemons, limes, ginger, turmeric and celery. There’s just nothing this machine can’t juice!

In my opinion, the omega is worth every penny. The first time I made juice with this machine, I was really surprised to see how delicious it was! I was expecting something that tasted very green, in a I’m-only-drinking-this-because-it’s-healthy kind of way. I was surprised to see how good it tasted to me and even more surprised to find myself craving green juice! That’s right, I now have my daily dose of green juice, and I just can’t skip it! After a month of juicing, I feel so much more energized and clean, from the inside out. Additionally to this, my skin has improved, my hair and nails grow stronger and faster and I crave less junk food. Completely hooked on that too!

green juice2

The only downsize to juicing is the quatity of vegetables that is needed. I’ve been astonishing cashiers in my neighbourhood when I check out with 12 heads of lettuce, 4 heads of celery and all the greens they had. After a few weeks, it seemed like an unsustainable habbit for my budget. I decided to give the farm next door a try: there, I am able to find some fresh, local and organic vegetables for a very fair price. My trick: to go at the end of the day and sweep up everything that’s left. Much more sustainable than the grocery store, it also means I get organic veggies everyday!

Anyways, all this to say that if you are on the fense about buying a juicer or have trouble with your energy levels, adding more greens might be a great area to explore. I really hope you’ll give it a try and tell me how it makes you feel!

Iceplant and Salicornia, two market finds

This week-end we went to the Laurier Farmers’ Market, as usual. We found some pretty unusual greens: iceplant and salicornia!

ice-plant-salicornia1

Both were really fresh and super tasty. Salicornia is an old favourite. It grows along the shore of the ocean or rivers so it takes on a really salty taste. It is super crunchy, and frankly it eats itself up in a flash! I love munching on salicornia on it’s own: it’s so fresh and marine. It makes me feel like I’m on the seaside, which is great!

salicornia1

If you are interested in looking at more wild plants, I really suggest checking out Forêts et Papilles. They prepare amazing teas, seasonings and sugars with wild plants. They also have amazing fresh produce every week at the market. Worth checking them out!

Forets-et-papiles

The second find is something completely new and unknown to me, grown by the Jardins d’Ambroisie: iceplant. Apparently, this plant has been traditionally used in the southern part of France, but it was rediscovered by famous chefs in recent year. Well, I can see why! The main thing about this plant is its crazy texture: as it is a succulent the leaves are quite thick and chunky. The fun thing is that they are covered in little bubbles filled with a salty and sour liquid. Sounds alien, right? Well it’s wonderful!

ice-plant

This plant has a a rich salty and sour taste that is so refreshing. I love how the little bubbles just explode with every bite. It’s truly something to try out!

iceplant-salicornia2

If you don’t feel like munching on these just like this, you can chop them up and add them to any salad. They can easily replace salt and vinegar in any dressing. It’s amazing! If you have a chance you should really give them a try! Let me know if you have any market finds I should be on the lookout for!

 

Lazy faux-falafel collard wrap

When I came back home today, I was craving falafels. However, the warm weather makes baking falafel completely out of the question. So, I made a thick and chunky hummus that I used on some fresh collard greens. The result: the great falafel’s taste in a fresh and crunchy wrap. Perfect for summer!

collard-wrap

Here is what you need for the hummus:

  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • the juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tsp tahini (sesame paste)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 cup of mustard greens or cilantro
  • 1/3 cup water
  • salt and pepper to your taste

Here is what you do:

  1. Place everything in your food processor and process until smooth to your liking. The mixture should be thicker that hummus, but still smooth.

collard-wrap2

Here is what you need for the vegetable garnish:

  • 3 carrots, peeled
  • 5 celery stalks
  • 1 zucchini
  • 10 button mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup sesame seeds
  • 2 tbs mirin or rice vinegar
  • 1 tbs tamari or soy sauce
  • pepper to taste

Here is what you do:

  1. Shred the carrots and celery and place in a large salad bowl.
  2. Shred the zucchini and mushrooms. Place in a large pan on medium-high heat and add the sesame seeds, mirin and tamari. Stir until well combined and let sit until most of the water is evaporated.
  3. Transfer the cooked vegetables to the salad bowl and mix with the carrots and celery.
  4. Taste the mix and add pepper if you like.

To eat:

  1. Wash and cut the stem out of some collard green leaves. Pat them with a towel to remove the excess water.
  2. Place some hummus, some vegetable garnish and fresh herbs or tomato slices in the middle of a leaf.
  3. Fold the sides and bottom of the leaf on the garnish to form the wrap and enjoy!

collard-wrap-3

Collard greens are great to make wraps because they are large, pliable and  tender. As many cruciferous greens, this vegetable is rich in iron, vitamin K and A. It’s a great alternative for kale and it is much easier to prepare as it is much more tender and soft. It went really well with the hummus: the cumin flavour was amazing! The vegetables bring a nice saltiness to the wrap and a contrasting texture. This is really fun to eat as you can wrap as you go and is perfect to share. Let me know if you try it out!