Monday, January 30, 2012

A Raw Food Realization

Going raw is a serious commitment, without even the luster of a diamond ring to soften the blow.

Now, if I were living the American Dream a la Gwyneth Paltrow - and had time to sprout my own grains on a daily basis (or, ahem, have my chef sprout my grains) - it might be a different story. Alas, sticking to such a regimen is simply not in my future, however health-driven it may be. For the time being, I'm happy to dabble in the diet when the opportunity presents itself.

For instance, I recently came across Rawsomely Vegan: The Ultimate Raw Vegan Recipe Book (Adams Media, 2012) and spent nearly an hour poring over the intricate recipes, imagining how delicious they might be if I ever had the time or motivation to tackle raw foods. From brilliantly green-hued juices to "Petite Beetloaf," the cookbook covers a cornucopia of concoctions. I was tired just looking at it. No lie.

For those of us who aspire to beat the systemic fast-food mentality of our nation, but don't have the energy to devout themselves to a purely raw food diet, why not support the local mom-and-pops who make a living juicing for the better good? I dug up one promising raw food directory for those of you scoping locations in the U.S., but I'm cutting out the clutter and listing some of the most-raved about restaurants below.

Bliss Raw Cafe and Elixir Bar / 6005 Berkshire Ln. / Dallas, Tx.
Sea Salad Sandwiches, Bliss Burger and Hemp Horchatta dessert - smooth hemp seed milk with cinnamon, mesquite and agave nectar - maintain a following in this classy cafe. {MENU}

Blossoming Lotus / 1713 NE 15th Ave. / Portland, Ore.
Live Pesto and Portobello Pizza and "live" Nachos - spiced tomato and walnut chips with zucchini, tahini nacho cheese and ground pecan chorizo - sound nearly carnivorous. {MENU}

Karyn's on Green / 130 South Green St. / Chicago, Il.
A slightly sexy setting in the Windy City sets this vegan hub apart from the bohemian feel of most raw food cafes. Raw Maki Roll, Kale Salad and Raw Pasta are easy options to choose from. {MENU}

Planet Raw / 609 Broadway Street / Santa Monica, Cali.
With herbal tonics like Warrior Broth and Forever Young, you're sure to find something on the menu that suits you. {MENU}

p.s. In researching this post, I stumbled across a new cleanse from Mrs. Paltrow herself... although with a $425 price tag, it clocks in at a much higher cost than my lowly Whole Foods option described in the post below. Must be the goop brand surcharge.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Spring Clean(sing)

Ah, Mexico. With a mere 10 days until I board a plane for Cancun via Atlanta, it's time for some prep work. I don't know about you, but travel has a funny way of playing tricks on my tummy, and Mexico tends to play the cruelest games of all. For that reason - and with a nod to my health-focused New Year's goals - I recently (on a whim) snatched up a two-week cleanse at Whole Foods.

In an unassuming green box, the "cleanse," a product by Whole Foods in-store brand, Everyday 365, neatly houses three bottles of supplements ($16.99). I glanced at the directions as I picked up the box, noted that the first week required only one pill in the evenings and thought, simply, that it sounded easy enough. Fast forward 24 hours, when I sit down and re-read the directions, realizing - with a pang in my stomach - that I need to swallow eight rather large pills in the evenings, and another four in the A.M. during week one. Yowza. As it turned out, the large, bitter supplements really weren't all that bad. And whatever discomfort I felt when downing the capsules was completely offset by the swooshy feeling of my digestive system purging itself. Swooshy in a good way; not at all in an uncontrolled way...

Suffice it to say, in the middle of week two, I'm announcing myself a convert. Never having tackled a cleanse, I feel like it's now a process I might want to implement a couple times a year. A tune up, per se. Like, around the time I go to get my oil changed. Or something.

Now, I only have to avoid Montezuma's Revenge.
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