Thursday, July 28, 2011


July and August, in my mind, signify the peak of the year's harvest. Beans, tomatoes, zucchini, chard, kale, carrots, onions, corn, summer squash, broccoli, cabbage, cucumber, peppers, herbs, of course all of the fruit, and so much more! If you are connected to the seasons [which we all are, by the way, some are just aware of it] and prefer fresh produce, this is the time of the year that you probably most look forward to.

During this time I try to eat as much raw food as I can because, well for one it's right there and I just can't help but feel like a kid again when I pick the fruit right from the plant and take a bite! And, two, eating raw gives the body a much needed break from the intense work of digesting food.

Here is a quick [and hopefully interesting!] science lesson. Each plant [and the fruit it bares] has a built in energy-source called enzymes that, when eaten by us, break down the fats, carbohydrates, and proteins in the body allowing us to easily digest them. As a side benefit they help remove toxins and give us energy.....but that is only a side benefit ;) Anyway, cooking disables [or in harsher terms, kills] these enzymes thus requiring our body to do all the work of breaking down those fats, carbs, and proteins on our own as well as remove toxins. If you are thinking, well there goes all that energy, you are absolutely right!

Okay, science lesson completed. The moral of the story is our bodies could really use some help people!

Luckily, there are times in the year when a plethora of fresh, raw foods are available and, ta-da!, one of those times happens to be now [lucky you and lucky me!]. Late spring, summer, and early fall are great seasons to take advantage of what the earth provides and indulge in all that crunchy, cool [or soft, sweet] goodness.

Here is one of my favorite, easy lunches that has quickly become a mainstay in my meal planning and is so adaptable that I never get bored! Oh, and be sure to notice the ratio of veggies to grain. Many times meals are filled with a serving of grain and / or starch, a serving [or two, or three...] of meat, and then a "side" of vegetables. Work to make the vegetables and / or fruit the main dish and everything else a side.

1/3 c. cooked organic millet [or quinoa, brown rice, wild rice, creative! You can also use a sprouted grain or seed to make this a completely raw dish.]
1/3 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 c. green beans [raw], cut into 1-inch pieces
1/3 c. cucumber, chopped
small handful of fresh herbs [in this case I used parsley] to garnish
small handful of raw, unsalted sunflower seeds
salad dressing of choice, optional [try this for an awesome homemade Italian dressing!]

*Note from Tina: feel free to use any combination of vegetables you like. You can also try this with soaked oatmeal [uncooked, soak in DF milk of choice or water, refrigerated, over night] and chopped fresh fruit topped with a handful of nuts / dried fruit and raw unprocessed honey.

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