August 18, 2009

Take a look, no need to cook: an Eating Rainbow

Any other children of the '80s out there who might know which theme song this post's title references? If so, good for you--since you're reading this, that show must have made an impact. ;)

Thanks for being patient with me taking a mental health day from blogging last night. The payoff is double the pretty pictures for today! Behold: the most colorful pile of dinner this side of a bag of Skittles:

I took advantage of this week's optimal farmer's market bounty in order to try out Gena's Peanut Noodles recipe. I'm a sucker for Asian noodle dishes, so I was more than excited to try out a raw equivalent!

For extra flair, I topped my bowl with peas and sesame seeds--both with wasabi flavor. So addictive! Other than that, I followed her recipe for the sauce/dressing pretty exactly and am excited to have loads of it still left over.

Though this dish contains neither peanuts nor noodles, I was a happy face while slurping it all up with my baby chopsticks. I may or may not have busted out a spoon to finish off the sauce dregs, too...

The purple bits are actually a purple pepper, I will have you know. It was too gorgeous to pass up at the market yesterday! I bought it as a curiosity as much as anything else, but the verdict on taste is that it's pretty much the same as its other-colored cousins.

With all that vibrant produce, I think I consumed a rainbow of vitamins and colors. Score!

I promise there are pictures of things besides raw peanut noodles in this post...somewhere...

Ah, here we go:


Kidding, kidding.

Here's the stuff I rounded up at the market Monday: lettuce, kale, portobello mushrooms, cucumbers, yellow and green zucchini, corn, plus red and purple peppers.

I also dashed into Whole Foods for a few bits and pieces:

Nama Shoyu (unpasteurized soy sauce), hemp milk, spelt tortillas and Wheat & Oat bread from Rudi's Organics. I still have more coupons for free bread from Rudi's, thanks to Missy's giveaway! Nothin' better than free, organic whole grains, says I.

And maybe the shopping bug caught me one more time today:

I just love Integral Yoga Natural Foods. It's a health food store not too far from my office, and it is a veritable fairy land of amazing organics available in bulk. Today's damage: applewood-smoked dulse (for maximum non-bacon-y bacon-ness), medjool dates, Turkish figs and prunes.

They also have some delicious treats in the bulk bins, so I picked up these Vegan Carob-Banana Energy Chunks in lieu of a Lara/Pure bar for today's snack:

Kind of like a Wild Bar-meets-Lara Bar...with way more nuts to get stuck in your teeth. It's a sacrifice I'm willing to make.

Other things I've enjoyed in the past day or two...

Shiro plums: Mom and I picked up a box of these bite-sized yellow plums at Saturday's market, and I'm grooving on them in a major way.

Apple in the apple slicer: how to turn whole food into convenience food.

Fresh figs, round two. I saw these Mission figs on sale at Whole Foods for only $2.99, so I thought I'd give them a chance (if you recall, my first encounter with fresh figs did not blow me away).

Yeah, still not amazing. The super-ripe ones are kind of nice, but otherwise there's a mealy-ness going on that I do not dig. I will stick to dried figs from now on.

Obviously, I have been sticking to a very high-raw diet for the past week or so (with the exception of the weekend with Mama-san). It's not my style to journal everything that goes in my mouth, but you can trust me when I say that anything missing from pictures on the blog in the past week was also fruit or vegetable in nature, or perhaps even a juice containing both.

Though this kind of pattern is a pretty dramatic departure from the way I ate before, I've been amazed to observe how little these choices have thrown me off mentally and/or physically. The only "issue" regarding my dietary experiments has been coffee, and I plan on addressing my thoughts on that in a separate blog post.

One might deduce from my absence last night that I wasn't really feeling my best, and one might be right. I had the blues. No one wants to hear from a grumpy blogger, but I don't mind mentioning that I wasn't at the top of my game because I'm also a human bean (deliberate typo), and neither does anyone want to hear from a fake blogger.

I got to thinking about all the happy things I've read about raw foodism: that raw foods reduce inflammation, restore alkalinity, draw out toxins and are conducive to a clear, optimistic mindset. I spent all of Monday eating raw foods. What gives?

Well, let's back up two days. As you can see in my recap of fun food adventures with my Mom, I ate anything but raw for the whole weekend. I didn't eat especially poorly--I never go long without vegetables--but that's not to say that things like cow dairy, refined flours and sugars didn't find their way into my mouth. Have I not reiterated my love for ice cream here enough?

This isn't guilt you're reading. I enjoyed every second and would do the same given another chance, but knowing what I know now, I can't help but consider the fact that I spent Monday pouting because of a boatload of toxins working their way out of my system.

Like anyone else, I have my share of stressors in life, but we're not talking about anything the next 26-year-old isn't dealing with, too. I'm not enough of an expert on raw foods to definitively link my slump to diet, but maybe I don't really care whether or not I've correctly identified the cause.

Maybe I would just as soon decide for myself that I was down in the dumps because I chose to eat things that weren't optimal for my body. Armed with that conclusion (which can't hurt, either way), I might make different choices the next time I'm away from my kitchen full of produce, thereby creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. If I've decided that I'm wholly better off eating a largely plant-based diet, it will likely come true. That's just some food for thought.

Sure enough, today I continued on with my high-raw eats, and quite happily! My mood was on a steady rise throughout the day, and I couldn't help but think about how good I felt after each dose of veggie goodness. I'm not the-hills-are-alive-ing or anything, but I do feel like myself again.

Indeed, dinner was quite self-fulfilling:

Well, self-filling, at the very least. I used Natalia Rose's recipe for marinated portobello mushrooms to top a big salad made with romaine, red bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, juicer pulp and corn off the cobb.

Kind of a dead ringer for chopped-up steak, no? I assure you that this was all shroomy deliciousness, but I suppose the portobellos did provide the "meat" of my meal!


I never considered myself much of a salad lover before deliberately trying to eat them more often, but curiously, the more salads I eat, the more I want! Before now, I couldn't even entertain the idea of eating more than one salad per day. I think it's all in my head: once the salad became a nourishing meal instead of dieting torture, it was a canvas for creation and easy to enjoy.

If you were to create a self-fulfilling prophecy, what would you want to happen?


VeggieGirl said...

DULSE!!! Daily staple of mine :)

Lele said...

1. OMG reading rainbow! Although I have to say, yes the opening song was ludicrously catchy and still gets stuck in everyone's head, but... what was the show about? Books, I guess?

2. Those yellow plums rock my world.

Missy said...

Vegan Carob-Banana Energy Chunks??? I will be back at Integral Yoga tomorrow during lunch to find these!! Yum! I am searching for this mushroom recipe now too on Natalia's website because I eat mushrooms almost every night and never have a clue what to do with them besides dipping them in hummus!

Anonymous said...

I love that recipe!

Great grocery haul... those energy chunks look so good.

katherine said...

Um, everything looks AWESOME!!!! Your salads look beautiful and I love that you're branching out to foods like dulse (I'm still so curious about that stuff). Glad your mood is improving too :)

Sarah (LovIN My Tummy) said...

Your whole "psych" thing had me cracking up.

Like you, I love salads, raw peanut sauce, and honest blogging. Like you I hate fresh figs, toxic foods and giving up coffee.

I am so happy to see you doing this raw food thing for all the right reasons. Unheard of!!!

Averie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) said...

The marinated p'bella shrooms look awesome, going to go look up that recipe. I would say I'm high raw, but I don't stress if I eat something cooked. But I can totally relate to feeling off my game if my diet changes and I don't stick to the diet that I know works for me: veggies and raw, minimal junk and/or processed. Yep, you were probably detoxing Monday. I get really emotional and cry when I detox and want to be a hermit. Oh and my Whole Foods here in San Diego sells the same exact dulse you photo'ed and I photo'ed that same package on my blog today too...funny. Hope you're feeling better. Sorry my comment I think just got duplicated...

Lia said...

I've also noticed when I stick to high raw my mood is more consistant and happier. Also, I found those energy cubes at a random co-op in small town MN, but never seen them before! I got excited about it hahaa!

Hayley said...

I love your blog Diana - you make me laugh everytime I read your posts. I'm discovering the same thing on my raw journey. I don't like to deprive myself of certain foods, but I'm noticing that every time I go back to eating certain things I end up feeling like crap. Are you doing food combining, too?

Diana said...

Hi Hayley,

To be honest, I haven't devoted a lot of thought to making sure my meals are properly combined, but I do have a general awareness of it nonetheless. I do think that most often my meals end up pretty well combined, but it's my tummy that tells the real tale, and so far it has been happy!

fitforfree said...

awesome post, Diana -- mood & food may not be "one" but they are totally linked!

I want my self-fulfilling prophecy to be exercise = feeling good = craving more exercise. I'm trying to do this by not overexercising. It's working!

Dori said...

I have so much to say about this! First, the peanut noodles sounds soooo great. Mmmm. And the marinated portobello! I LOVE mushrooms, I need to make that.

Next, I need the carob banana chunks. Need. Missy always goes to that store, maybe she can pick some up for me one day! And MMMMM Rudi's spelt tortillas. I get the other kind, not the whole grain spelt because I need to limit my fiber intake, but aren't they just the most amazing and versatile thing ever! So jealous of your coupons!

I also saw purple peppers at the market but I was getting so much else I couldn't get more.

I will be seeing you tonight, correct? Yay!

chocolate-covered katie said...

It's so colorful! And yay for chopsticks too :)

Dori said...

OH and I forgot to say -- OF COURSE I KNOW READING RAINBOW! Hahahaha! Love it!

Gena said...

So happy you loved the noodles! I love to inspire :) And I can't wait to see you later tonight.

brandi said...

all of the meals in this post are so beautiful! those mushrooms look extremely tasty.

very interesting observation about your moods in relation to foods! I don't eat raw, but I can definitely notice a difference if I've had a super indulgent weekend or day and then return to "normal" eating - it's like my body is getting rid of all the extra sugar, fat, etc, that it's not used to having and it definitely affects my mood.

Erica said...

Love that first meal! I am a peanut sauce addict...seriously! I use to love reading rainbow. Is that show still on? Or at least re runs? Those chunks look jammin- I love snackys like that !

The Globetrotter said...

Lovely post. I feel the same :) see you tonight lovely!

Jenny said...

i love my energy in carob banana chunk form :)

unfortunately -- the title reference is ahead of my time.. i'm such a baybay.. sighhhh

allijag said...

LOVE all the colors in that dinner! I don't know why but purple peppers intrigue me! :)

Sorry about the figs. I haven't tried a fresh one ever - because im 99.9% positive my reaction wil be the same as yours!

elise said...

ok well that answers that - i was JUST about to buy fresh figs today bc i was curious. ill pass, and save my $$ for that banana carob amazingness. holy effing YUMMMMMMM!!

your post title crazks me up, and im nearly drooling with the peanut sauce "noodle" dish (so colorful!!) AND the salad at the end - omg! i want it all!

glad your raw eats are going well.

Sassy-Kitchen said...

I just found your blog, and you made all the right NYC references to make me fall in love (bonobos, pf&w, integral yoga..) I am nyc based, always looking for people with similar interests and I love what I've seen so far! I've had those coconut date rolls from integral and they are exquisite!