Wednesday, March 9, 2011

More Raw!

While I am definitely inspired, and will get more into it, nothing I eat is yet 100% raw. I am in a stage of "leaning" into the raw foods lifestyle. I am not saying I will ever be 100% raw, nor do I really want to be, but a larger percentage of my vegan diet being raw would be optimal. The immediate health benefits of a mostly raw meal are palpable and surprising. The increased energy and sense of peaceful well-being are immediately apparent and are sustained for quite some time. I need to really finish equipping my kitchen for a raw foods lifestyle before I delve more deeply into it. But here's some of what I've been able to throw together with what I've got already:

Yes, you knew I'd be craving more collard-wrap action! After my morning rice porridge yesterday I was out of grains, and I knew I needed something sustaining in my fridge, so I came up with a salad to stuff the collards with. I found that layering two large leaves, overlapping except for an inch-wide strip, affords a lot more room for neat wrapping. On this one the bottom is closed off so the eating process is not so messy. It's much more burrito-like, and the fresh greens are so tender that the two layers are still very easy to bite through, easier than a tortilla, actually. Here's my salad recipe:

Mostly Raw Israeli Cous Cous Salad

1 c. whole wheat Israeli cous cous
1 1/4 c. water
1 broccoli crown, diced
half a jarred roasted red pepper, diced
half a cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
2 scallions, sliced thinly
1 can of beans drained and rinsed -mine had kidney and great northern beans
2 Tbsp. vegenaise
1 Tbsp. evoo
1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
Prepare the cous cous according to package directions. When it is still warm, stir in the raw broccoli. This will warm the broccoli and, without really "cooking" it, will knock the waxy bloom off it, and improve the flavor. In a mixing bowl, combine all salad ingredients, mix the dressing ingredients together and incorporate the dressing into the salad. 
Serves 6

This salad gets better the longer it sits, so it's great to make ahead and refrigerate. The Israeli cous cous is fun to use because it is just much larger pearls of the same thing we are used to. This salad could obviously be altered in many ways, using a whole grain instead of the cous cous, different quantities or types of veggies, etc. I encourage you to experiment working with more raw, healthful ingredients.

Last night the above wraps were all I was eating for dinner since all vegan food groups were represented, but I presented the others with leftover oven fries and fillets of fish sauteed in earth balance and fresh lemon juice (sorry, but it is SUCH an improvement over what they used to eat!). My husband also had a collard wrap or two. As he watched me plow through my fourth, he said, "You're sure eating enough of those, aren't you?" He had forgotten that a lot more clean food can fit into our bodies than fatty, fleshy, starchy food.

He was right -- I was eating exactly enough, and not a bit more! I'm grateful my body clearly tells me what and how much to eat. I'm not offended by what he said, by the way. I know he thinks I'm fabulous, and he knows my body weight is optimal. In fact, he has been eating a lot more of my food, and a lot fewer animals. When I recently made vegan chili, he happily ate it, even knowing there was some "meat made from plants" in there. He chose tofutti sour cream over sour cream. He has been choosing earth balance over butter for as long as I can remember. When he makes himself a sandwich, he reaches for vegenaise. I still have all the other stuff too by the way. I'll keep it till it goes bad and then maybe I won't buy any more. I like my husband choosing healthier options of his own accord. Those changes will be more sustainable.

Recently he was surprised as he got dressed and held the waistband a couple of inches away from his body. I knew what was going on, but it's more fun to lead him:

"To what do you attribute that?" I asked.

"Vegenaise!" he said.



  1. It's so great that your husband is realizing the benefits of a better diet! That's how it went with my guy--he ate what I cooked for him (always vegan), ate whatever he wanted at work or when we went out, and slowly noticed that he felt better and had more energy when he ate plants (and cut back on soda). Now he's vegetarian (vegan on many days) and with the addition of yoga a couple times a week, is feeling good. Yay for being a healthy influence!

  2. How great the hubby is following along!

    OK, so all I have to do to lose weight is eat more Veganaise? Awesome! :)

  3. Fun post Cheryl. You are doing an amazing job with your food choices. What I do is try and eat raw all day long and then at night I have something cooked with my raw food (ie. the main dish foods that I post on my blog). I learned this pattern from Hallelujah Acres-a Vegan/Raw food site that I have been following for about 7 or 8 years.

  4. Lisa -- Thanks! I LOVE what you do on your blog! and yes, all things being relative compared to what he was eating before, veganaise is a step up!

  5. Debbie -- Thank you! Great tip for getting more raw into our diets! Realistically, I tend to be more "fly by the seat of my pants" and not so organized, but I could "lean into" that approach! YOur food is lookin' good, girl!

  6. Great job setting a good example for your family and instilling lifelong changes in them! I bet the weight lose really drove the point home w/your hubby. Hurray!

  7. My nutritionist told me that raw food provides the enzymes that we actually need to digest our food. When I was a yogi our practice was to eat at least 50% raw foods. Hm, I should start doing that again. That collard wrap has my mouth watering : )