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Posts tagged ‘raw’

Lately I have been on a bit of a health kick. A couple of my friends on Facebook have inspired me. :) Also, I figure I can’t eat too healthy with a baby growing inside of me, so why not? And since juicing is one of the easiest ways to get good nutrition, and since we have a juicer, I’m juicing.

After the morning sickness went away, I suddenly couldn’t eat as much as I had been. If I ate anything solid in the evenings–even a smoothie–I would crawl into bed with a heavy feeling in my stomach and sometimes even a sensation a little like heartburn.

I quickly realized that my body just couldn’t handle food in the evening. At least, not as late as I was eating–and since we were not eating breakfast early, there was no way to get a third meal early enough.

Normally, that wouldn’t be a problem. I maintain my weight much better on two meals than on three. However, I am pregnant, and I don’t want to deprive the baby of calories or nutrition. Granted, the baby is only about 5 inches long right now and doesn’t need a whole lot of calories right now, but I want to make sure I am giving it all the best nutrition possible.

I recently bought a jar of wheat grass from Whole Foods, and sometimes I would mix that in with a glass of juice, but I don’t want to buy juice all the time, since those juices aren’t really all that good for you. Not that 100% juice is bad, but I like variety, too.

Then I thought of juicing. I bought a 5 lb bag of organic carrots at Whole Foods and juiced them. This I could mix with the wheat grass, and it was very satisfying. I also started mixing in Melaleuca’s fiber with this juice (adding extra water), and I found this very tasty and good for my digestion, too.

Sometimes I juice other things with the carrots. Last night I juiced carrots, kale, and apples, all organic. And I took pictures. My kids were helping me.

Organic Carrots, Red Kale, and Apples

I had made kale chips with half a bunch of red kale, so I used the rest for this batch of juice, I had almost 5 pounds of carrots, because I had used 3 or 4 in recipes during the week. And the 3 apples that had been on sale the last time I went to Whole Foods.

So I washed them and started juicing. As soon as he saw the juicer, Manny wanted to come watch. He likes to nibble  the carrot fiber as it comes out of the juicer.

He was trying to help, but the carrots were too hard for him to push down. He put some of them in, though.

After juicing most of the carrots and all the kale, I started on the apples. Since apples are much softer than carrots, he was able to do it all by himself.

When it was all done, I let Manny and Gislaine have a little bit of the apple juice (it had 2 or 3 carrots in it, since juicing a carrot with the slender end up last leaves less unjuiced food than a chunk of apple), and then I mixed the juices together. I added the extra water and fiber to mine, left one for my husband, and froze the rest. Here is the result (before adding fiber to mine):

So now when I feel a little bit of hunger in the evening, I mix up a liquid drink. Since my husband drank one, there are a total of 4 servings per week for me. I mixed fiber with one, and drank it down. I stored the extra ones in the freezer. I get one out the night before I want to drink it. On days that I don’t drink one of these juices, I will add a bit of whatever reconstituted frozen juice I have in the fridge (right now I think it’s apple raspberry) to my fiber drink and throw in some wheat grass. With the kale in this, I don’t think I really need the wheat grass with my organic juice.

So that’s what I do for supper most nights. It digests very quickly, so there is nothing to make my stomach upset when I crawl into bed, and tastes delicious. Granted, there are some evenings when lunch was light and I’m hungry early; then I’ll eat a little something. And I’m sure in the last trimester I will be very hungry and will need more calories than I do now. But for now, I’m content that I am giving my baby the best nutrition I can while still listening to my body.

This post is participating in the Modest Monday link-up on The Modest Mom blog.

I can almost hear you saying, “What is yuca?” (pronounced YOU-kuh). It is a very interesting root found in many tropical countries, from Africa to the Carribbean, Central and South America, many South Pacific islands, and parts of Asia. I learned to like it when my husband introduced me to it while we were living in Texas.

It is a very starchy, fibrous root with a kind of bark-like skin and white flesh. It cooks similar to a potato, but it is a bit drier and has a rather bland flavor. You may have heard of its other name, cassava, as it is called in many English speaking countries, such as Jamaca. It is also the root from which tapioca is made.

The other night, my husband found this site that talks about many of the properties of yuca, and we were surprised to find that it is a good source of calcium, as well as anti-inflammatory.

My son is allergic to potatoes, which makes buying gluten-free mixes and products virtually impossible. However, tapioca flour and starch can substitute very well for potato flour and starch in GF recipes, and he is not allergic to it at all.

In Texas, we used to buy it for about $1 a pound. Not terribly cheap, but still affordable. We had to remove the skin and the ends, and I learned the hard way to chop it open in the store to check for pure white flesh (instead of flesh with gray lines in it). Sometimes I would find a lot that was good, and then I would skin it all and freeze whatever we didn’t plan on using in the next few days. It could be taken from the freezer and put directly into hot water to cook, and it tasted almost the same as fresh.

Then we moved to Oregon, and the yuca here is almost $3 a pound. So we never buy it. Not to mention that I doubt it will be good quality up here. But my husband found frozen shredded yuca at a Philippino market for about $1.25 per 1 lb bag. He used about two pounds to make a yuca casserole for Christmas dinner (yuca on top and bottom with seasoned veggie burger filling), but it’s a bit expensive to use for the family on a regular basis, and takes a bit of work. However, we discovered that if we took some of the yuca (which is so finely shredded that it is more like a thick batter than anything else), added some salt, and pan fried it in small patties, Manny would devour them. He’s been known to eat more than half a pound of it at one sitting!

Lately poor Manny, who is definitely allergic to eggs, milk, and all nuts and seeds except flax and hemp, has become more and more sensitive to beans. I can’t just feed him grains–most of them aren’t a complete protein, and even if they were, the quality of protein isn’t enough for a growing child. He won’t eat greens (and with the limited amount of food he can eat, it’s next to impossible to hide greens in anything), so using greens to supplement his protein isn’t really a viable option. So we decided to try a little turkey. Daddy bought some at the health food store today. He chopped it fine, mixed it with the yuca, made the patties, and cooked them with a little palm oil (which oxidizes slower than olive oil, is flavorless, and healthier than canola oil). We started with about 2 ounces of turkey and half a pound of yuca. I’m not sure how many patties he ate, but there were only 2 two-inch patties left when he was full.

Turkey isn’t something we’ll give him every day. What we bought today cost over $2, and I’m not positive it was organic  or free range (it didn’t say it was; he bought it pre-cooked and sliced in the deli, not raw). I can buy similar turkey from Azure Standard, only it IS organic and free-range, and costs over $6 for each 6-oz package (just under $6 each if I buy a 10-pack). I figure buying it pre-cooked is better, so I don’t have to deal with raw meat in my kitchen (a friend made that suggestion, and I totally agree with her!).

As a third-generation vegetarian, feeding meat to one of my kids is something I really hesitate to do. But we don’t seem to have a lot of options right now. I really hope that he will outgrow many of his allergies eventually, and in the mean time he really needs to avoid anything that makes him more itchy. If giving him a little turkey now and again will make that easier, then so be it.

Now if we could just move to a tropical country where yuca and other non-potato roots are staples in the diet… Hey, there’s no law that says I can’t wish, is there? :)

Note: I originally meant to post one of my favorite tofu recipes here, but I forgot to buy tofu and didn’t have time to make it when I realized I didn’t have it. So I couldn’t get pictures. Then I heard of a friend on Twitter who was thinking of going dairy free, and thought I should post this recipe instead. I will continue with the tofu theme next week.

I like cheese. I will admit that it is one of the hardest things to avoid when I am vegan. And many foods seem to require cheese. I mean, what would pizza be without cheese? Sure, I’ve eaten cheeseless pizza… but I don’t really like it all that well.

I should clarify that this recipe does not taste like cheese at all. Although I use it as a substitute, I don’t expect it to taste like cheese. I feel it should stand alone on its own value. And I must say, it’s downright tasty!

Cashew Cheese Sauce

Blend until smooth:

2 cups water
1/2 cashews
1 small jar pimentos (I sometimes use canned red bell pepper, because it’s cheaper)
1/4 cup heaping of nutritional yeast flakes
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder

When nice and smooth, dump in 3 Tablespoons of potato flour. This will thicken it instantly. Use raw sweet red pepper and fresh lemon juice, and you have a raw food recipe.

If you don’t have potato flour, add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch or arrowroot and cook until thickened. Of course, then it won’t be raw. I prefer the first method, but have used the second on occasion, when I ran out of potato flour (or thought I had, because I couldn’t remember where I had stored the extra!).

Such cheesy deliciousness!

I grew up eating this once or twice a week on macaroni. Mac & cheese–my brother’s favorite food. Here are some other ideas good uses for it: pizza, tacos, haystacks*, nachos–the sky’s the limit!

So try it and let me know what you think!

*Haystacks, in my culture (religious culture), are layers of chips, beans, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, cheese, sour cream, olives, and other related toppings–sort of like a big plateful of a taco on chips. They are a favorite at potlucks at my church.