I’m now feeling enough energy that I’ve joined a water aerobics class in my neighborhood pool. This is remarkable when you understand I have an anxiety of being in water stemming from my tendency to swim like a stone. The women are very kind, however; they keep me away from the dreaded Black Line that signifies the drop off into The Deep.
So far, the worst thing that happened to me was the second day when I fell off the Noodle. Fortunately, I was in only three feet of water, and four women came to my rescue. I was soon righted, and, having been underwater for the first time in about twenty years, I’ve faced my fears and the ensuing freedom that results.
I think the most difficult part of my thrice-weekly regime is getting into my bathing suit. The top is black and has four straps. It usually takes me about five minutes to get it on right. The bottom (also black) isn’t quite as difficult. It has only two openings, and they are the same size, as long as I’m holding it correctly.
The other difficulty associated with my decision to take this class was the necessity for purchasing a bathing suit. I hadn’t swum for about twenty years or more, and the suit I had from the old days had no elastic left. It also no longer fit. I am now starting my eleventh month of eating plant-based, whole foods and I’m no longer shaped like a mountain: big on the bottom, little on the top. I’m a Size 2 through and through. Do you know how hard it is to find a suit in Size 2?
Fortunately, Lands’ End has been having sales on swimwear and they don’t mind taking things back if they don’t fit. I told the sales person I wanted a suit that didn’t pull up in back or down in front. I won’t go through all the vicissitudes of suit-selection. Suffice to say, I love Lands’ End. They’ve been so patient with me.
So, there I am in my Size 2 swimming suit and one of the ladies says, “My friend tried eating the way you do, but she’s a busy professor and just didn’t have time to do all that food prep. So she still hasn’t lost any weight.”
I replied that I chose recipes that are fast, easy, and delicious as well as nutritious. And that is the inspiration for this August post.
I like to prepare things that can be kept in the ‘fridge for days and be made into different configurations with other foods that are also prepared and waiting in the ‘fridge. It’s a concept I learned from Jennifer Cornbleet. Her DVD on cooking raw gave the basics for Garden Soup. I’ve modified it for my own taste.
The reason for the 1-inch pieces is so everything blends quickly and evenly. It takes about 10 minutes to make this soup, and it travels well in an insulated container, if you’re out on the road and need something that will perk you up fast.
In a blender place
2-4 stalks of celery cut into 1” pieces
1 cucumber in 1” pieces
1 zucchini in 1” pieces
1 tomato quartered
1 tsp onion powder
1/3 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp of lemon juice
1/4 Cup light miso or 2 tbsp vegetable Better than Bouillon
1/2 Cup water
Blend together till smooth. Serve with a sprinkle of raw organic pumpkin seeds. Great chilled the next day.
I admit that Veggie Medley takes time. It’s the only labor-intensive thing I make, but I enjoy putting on an audio or e-book and cutting vegetables into tiny pieces. My mom called it “dumbbell work,” and it gives the dual blessing of mindless handwork while your brain is being educated or entertained. I’m listening to The China Study, by Dr. T. Colin Campbell. In fact, I just read the chapter on blindness. I can’t tell you how encouraging it was to be hearing how what I’m already choosing to put in my mouth is going to prevent diabetes (one of the leading causes of blindness), heart disease and stroke (my husband died of those), cancer (my dad had that), and neurological diseases (my mom died from one of those). So I’m listening to the research in Dr. Campbell’s book while I’m cutting up all these beautiful colors of vegetables, and I’m feeling virtuous, if not rather smug. I’m convinced I’m doing the very best I can for myself, not so I can live forever, but so I can be smart and healthy till the Lord calls me home.
I also have to add that, recently, I’ve been able to discern the difference between black and navy blue, and cream and pale lilac, and pale pink and cream. This means I’m getting some cone action back in my eyes. Previously I had lost so much color perception that I couldn’t distinguish brown from green. So, yay for the vegan diet!
My son John showed me how to make the recipe below. He also adds little red beans (cooked, of course). He’s had Type II diabetes for several years now, and is expecting to reverse it and get off his medications based on the research and recommendations of Dr. Neal Barnard, who has a book on it. There is no carb-counting in this approach to eating, but it’s not a fad diet. It’s actually pretty Chinese with the encouragement to eat brown rice with vegetables. Sounds like Comfort Food to me!
I have to say, I didn’t thrive on all raw. It was too yin. I’m already a yin person. I run on the cold side. When I was eating all raw, I tended to get a yin cough and had to put lots of ginger and cayenne on my food to balance myself up. Each body is unique. You have to do what works best for you.
The busy professor would not have time to chop vegetables, but I find it restful to do something different from writing books all day. It’s a little vacation, and afterwards, I have a big bowl of nutritious vegetables that will help save my eyes, heart, brain, arteries, etc. as well as saving me time during the week when I’m busy and want to just grab something, eat fast, and go.
1 medium cucumber diced small
1 medium zucchini diced small
1/2 medium red onion diced small
1/2 medium red bell pepper diced small
2 stalks celery diced small
Mix vegetables together in a bowl with black pepper to taste.
That’s it. Store it in a covered bowl up to 4 days.
Put it on hot or cold quinoa or brown rice.
Mix it into cold brown rice with red wine vinegar, Spike or tamari to taste, and a little flax seed oil.
This last recipe is one of my current favorites. It has a lovely dark flavor from the tamari and a slight cheesy flavor from the sesames.
I must tell you first that “unhulled” is a confusing term. Since the outer shell on the seed is called the hull, you’d think “unhulled” would mean without the hull. By some cruel twist of the English language, the opposite is true. “Unhulled” means it has the hull still intact. Hope that clears up the confusion.
Sesame Stuff is another incarnation of a recipe for kale chips that I got from Raw Chef Christina. The chips are fabulous, but talk about labor-intensive! And they’re so good that they’re gone in minutes, devoured by the ravening hoards.
This is a good compromise. I get the fabulous taste without all the work, because the blending of ingredients is the quick and easy part. After that, the hardset task is scraping it out of the blender.
3/4 cup sesame seeds (unhulled)
2 tbsp wheat-free Tamari
1 cup water
2 green onions chopped
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp chili powder
Blend all ingredients till smooth.
• spread on bread
• tomato, lettuce, cucumber and Sesame Stuff sandwich
• pasta sauce
• mix with rice and vegetables sautéd in water
• mix with cooked quinoa or brown rice and Veggie Medley
Hope you enjoy these wonderful foods. Don’t forget to keep hydrated in this hot weather. And see you at the pool.
Did I mention I’m a size 2?