Back to the Garden
Our June challenge is to incorporate more fruits, vegetables and unprocessed foods into our
diet, and to do it in a way that’s fun and appealing to us and our families. You can do this by
just eating raw greens and vegetables (like what you have in a salad), plain nuts, fresh fruits,
fruit smoothies, green smoothies, nut butters, nut milks, dried fruit and vegetables, and
sprouted grains. I hope you’ll try these suggestions, and try increasing the amounts and
frequency if you can.
*For 1 meal a week, eat only raw fruits and vegetables, with nuts and whole grains.
*Arrange your garden meal beautifully on a tray or board. This is called a charcuterie board.
*Cross one thing off your grocery list that’s full of sugar and sub in something healthy in its place.
*Learn to read ingredients. If there are more than 5 things you don’t recognize, put it back and choose
Bible Verses: “And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the
earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.” Genesis 1:29 ESV
“Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it.” Proverbs 5:17
“Through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with
its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing
of the nations.” Revelation 22:2 ESV
Our giveaway this month is a small taste of some raw foods. You can build your charcuterie board on a plate or platter or
tray that you already have in your kitchen. You can even use your cutting board. Get creative, and be sure to take a picture
and share it with the group.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF RAW VEGETABLES
“Enjoy this summer’s abundance of fresh produce without spending hours in the kitchen. Eating raw vegetables gives you the most enzymes, vitamins and minerals needed for good health. Shayna Komar, a licensed and registered dietitian at Thomas F. Chapman Family Cancer Wellness at Piedmont, says incorporating raw foods, specifically vegetables and fruits, into your diet can have numerous health benefits.
“You will likely have more energy, better skin, improved digestion and a reduced risk of cardiovascular
disease once you get used to eating raw food,” she says. Because preparation methods for raw vegetables are relatively simple (read: no buttery sauces or oily sautés), you may lose weight by fitting them into your meal plan.
Avoid overcooking your veggies.
Komar says vegetables lose their nutrients when they are overcooked. “When we eat too much overly-cooked, microwaved and processed foods, it leads to a list of health related issues,” she explains. “Cooking may actually upset the natural structure of food, robbing it of its essential nutritional value.”
When to cook your produce
Of course, eating cooked vegetables is better than eating none at all, so if you can’t stomach fresh crudités or a crisp salad, trying stir-frying, roasting or steaming your vegetables instead. “You can still get many nutrients and vitamins from cooked veggies and fruits,” says Komar. “In fact, a few provide even more nutrients when they are cooked, such as tomatoes.” If you steam your produce, try Komar’s trick for boosting the nutritional value.
“If at all possible, consume the water you steamed them in,” she says. “There are good nutrients in that water.”
Why are people following raw food diets?
“People follow raw food diets for many reasons. Many are trying to ‘clean’ out their eating habits,
which is a great thing. Others are trying to decrease disease risk,” she says. “With my clients, I
encourage starting slow: 50 percent raw foods and most importantly, getting variety and color in their
5 Green smoothie tips to get you started: (by Piedmont Healthcare)
1. Follow the 60/40 formula.
When you’re making your first few green smoothies, don’t just throw things in the blender. Chances
are, it’ll taste nasty if you wing it right out of the gate. To save you a few smoothie-fails, bust out those
cute lil’ measuring cups and follow this simple formula: 60% fruits to 40% leafy greens.
2. Blend in stages to avoid leafy chunks.
Chewing your green smoothie is no fun! To get a “smooth” green smoothie experience, blend up your
leafy greens and liquid-base first. Then add your remaining fruits and blend again.
3. Ditch the ice and freeze some fruits.
Want your green smoothie to be extra chilly? Freeze your favorite fruits like ripe bananas (peel first),
grapes, pineapple or berries. This is also a great way to not waste ripe fruits (like those brown bananas
on your counter). You can also freeze your leafy greens in a freezer-safe bag. Just make sure to add
your frozen greens straight to the blender.
4. Use raw natural sweeteners.
Add naturally sweet fruits to any smoothie that tastes bitter or a bit too “green.” By sticking with naturally sweet fruits like bananas, mango, apples, pears or pitted dates, we avoid artificial sweeteners and processed sugars.
5. Make smoothies ahead for the perfect fast food.
We know life can get crazy busy— especially in the morning. That’s why we think green smoothies are the healthiest
fast food for people who are constantly on the go. You can blend your green smoothie the night before and store it in your fridge (up to 2 days). Use an airtight lid to limit oxidation and keep it as fresh as possible. When ready to drink, give it a good shake before you open.
Avocado Chickpea Hummus
Add your chickpeas (1 15-oz can with a bit of the can juice), avocados (2 ripe avocados, peeled and
pitted), tahini (3 tablespoons), to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade.
Add the flavor makers: 2 fresh garlic cloves (sliced, if you like), lime juice (juice of ½ lime or more to your
liking), 1 teaspoon ground cumin and a pinch of cayenne (start with ½ teaspoon and add more if you like
a more spicy avocado hummus), and a good pinch of kosher salt to your liking.
Run the food processor until everything is well-combined into a creamy dip. Taste and adjust seasoning
to your liking.
Raw Walnut “Cheese”Dip
1 1/4 cup walnuts
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup hot water plus an optional extra tablespoon or two for desired consistency
Using a kettle or small pot, boil a cup or two of fresh water. (Since some will evaporate.)
Add all the ingredients using only 3/4 cup of the hot water to your blender and process until smooth and
creamy. It will take about a minute or so for the walnuts to fully break down and become smooth. If
needed, turn off your blender and start again until desired texture is reached. Taste for seasoning and
adjust if necessary. If you like a thinner sauce, add an additional 1-2 tablespoons of water and re-blend.
No need to soak the walnuts if you’ve got a powerful blender. If not, soak them for 30 minutes in hot
water and then drain before adding to your blender.
If you’re not using a powerful blender, turn it off, wait 30 seconds and start again until your walnut
cheese is smooth. (This will help prevent overheating in a less powerful blender.)
Add 1-2 tablespoons of additional hot water, as needed to reach desired consistency, if you prefer a
Change it up! If you’d like to switch up the flavors, sub the onion powder for garlic powder, paprika,
smoked paprika, or any other spices you’d like. (Keep in mind darker seasoning will change the color of
your walnut cheese sauce.)
Leftovers keep in a sealed container in the fridge for 3 days. Reheat before serving