Wednesday, August 8, 2012

super raw-power salad

It's been a few weeks now since Mum, Graeme and family friend Kate each took part in a 2-3 week superfoods cleanse I put together. I was so appreciative of how they each wanted to boost or change their eating habits and have me help them. My Mum (Annie) has since been whipping up a load of creative, exciting and healthy meals in her kitchen. Kate has been sleeping better than ever and continues to incorporate more whole foods into her diet. As for Graeme, he's still ripping through his ever growing health-filled lifestyle (check out his story here) and is in training for a half marathon in September. 

Annie, Kate and Graeme each did their cleanse bang smack in the middle of winter. One week was based on a 100% raw menu, so it was a challenge to not only re-vamp and introduce a whole bunch of new eating habits, but to eat foods that weren't hot while temperatures around them were dropping to below zero. They all had one thing in common that got them through the winter chill, and it was this attitude...


These are words I keep with me all the time in my journey of understanding ultimate health. I think many of us (I'm guilty of it for sure) tend to put off change in our lives because it's not quite the right time. However if we keep looking at it that way, then there will always be a barrier or hurdle that's keeping us from achieving particular goals. I don't think we can attain these goals or implement healthy change purely by dreaming about it. If we act now, get moving and stop procrastinating, before we know it, we've broken down our respective barriers, subsequently unlocking our future.


My 'journey' is constantly growing and changing and I no doubt keep future goals in mind, but what is really important to me is at least trying to do the best that I can for my health in the present moment. When I reflect on the past few months, I realise I am achieving my goals day by day and enjoying every minute of it, rather that longing for what could be. 

Now, on to the grub! Raw food is a huge part of my present moment. For many folk out there it's an even bigger part - some people are strictly raw (and I'm not just talking about Wu Tang). The idea of eating 100% raw everyday isn't currently how I roll but that is not to say I disagree with it - it does work for some and I totally dig that. Right now I sport a ratio of about 75% raw to 25% cooked foods. I don't know if I'll maintain that forever, but it's working for me... in my present moment. 

So what is all the hype about raw foods?

If you've had a hunt around the Internet, tuned in to any of the information that is out there about nutrition, or experienced it for yourself you'll know how good a diet rich in raw foods is. If it's a little new to you however and you want to hear about a few basics then here are some interesting wee notes that have stuck in my head since learning about all things raw...

Ultimate Nutrients - Foods left in there natural state are super nutrient dense and natural enzymes are present that are crucial for our bodies digestion and healthy function. The minute many foods are cooked, the nutritional value and enzymes are depleted or destroyed.

Maintaining pH Balance Raw foods help to keep our body in the right alkaline state. When we fill our bodies with junk, processed and too many cooked foods our acid/alkaline levels get out of whack. When these levels are off our body cannot function to its full potential and just like an engine, different parts start to break down and stop working properly and efficiently. 

Natural Elimination - When we eat raw foods we are aiding our body in the natural elimination process. The more cooked and processed foods we eat (and therefore the more toxins we put in out bodies) the harder our body has to work to 'eliminate' (get rid of those toxins) and keep our system clean. If our body can't keep up, toxins then get backed up and bigger problems start to arise such as weight gain and disease. Our liver in particular works extremely hard around the clock to keep our bodies clean and rid us of baddies - the process of detoxification is something the body never actually stops doing. When we eat a diet rich in raw foods we are making life a lot easier for our liver and whole digestive system to do their jobs.

So now that you know a little more about the raw, how about adding a little more in to your diet? You don't have to start big and completely revamp your whole fridge (not that that's a bad idea), just take one step at a time. If you've jumped on board with The Green Smoothie and have been snacking on some Fruit and Nut Booster Balls then good for you! Next give the Super Raw Power Salad a go.

This dish was a winner for my Mum, Graeme and Kate during the raw phase of their cleanse, so it made sense to share the recipe with you. It is high in fiber, high in colour and high in raw energy power! Anything that is this fresh and colourful has got to be good for you right? I love preparing this dish. The control freak in me seriously comes out as I grate and chop each different coloured vegetable - I love looking at them stacked up beside each other, bright, contrasting, bursting! The soaked dried fruit adds an element of sweetness and the nuts and seeds give it some crunch. 

super raw power salad

main ingredients 
1 large carrot - grated
1 medium size zucchini - grated
1/4 red cabbage - diced
1 red onion - diced
1 packed cup spinach - chopped as you would a bunch of herbs
1 medium size beetroot - grated
1/2 cup raisins, dried apricots or prunes or raisin/dried apricot/prune combo
1/2 cup raw seeds and nuts - preferably soaked*
a handful of pumpkin and sesame seeds to garnish (optional)

1/4 cup of olive oil
juice of a lemon
1 garlic clove - finely chopped
1 Tbls honey
salt and pepper to taste

I start things off by covering the dried fruit in a cup of water. This gives them time to get all plump and juicy while I prepare the vegetables and dressing.

Add all dressing ingredients to a glass jar and firmly close the lid. Shake vigorously till combined.

Chop, dice and grate the vegetables as suggested in the ingredients list above. Place all prepared vegetables except for the beetroot in a bowl. The beetroot will very quickly stain anything it comes in to contact with so I leave its addition till the very last minute. Drain the soaking fruit and rinse your soaked seeds if you've not done already (if you're using raw unsoaked seeds just add them as they are), and add to your vegetable bowl.

Thoroughly mix together the veg, seeds/nuts and dried fruit. Finally add the grated beetroot and 3/4 of the dressing and roughly stir together. Have a taste and if you think it needs it - add the rest of the dressing.

*I like to use a combination of almonds and sunflower seeds. I soak them over night, or during the day while I'm at work in fresh filtered water. Soaking raw nuts and seeds helps release the enzymes which prevent them from sprouting. These enzymes also stop our bodies from absorbing all of their nutrients and efficiently digesting them. Once they've soaked for 5 - 7 hours rinse them thoroughly and you're good to go. I like to then roughly chop the almonds before adding them to the salad.

Pile giant spoonfuls onto a plate or a bowl and sprinkle over some toasted sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds if you desire. Sit down, relax and enjoy this 100% super raw-power salad.

This salad also works really well as an accompaniment to a main dish; try it along side one of your meals this week or turn up to your next BBQ or potluck and wow your friends with this colour bursting dish. 

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