But something weird happened when I got back from vacation in California: It was hot here. Really hot. Smokin' hot. Hella hot. Too hot to eat hot food.
So I began to think of fruit and vegetables not as a necessity to avoid scurvy, but as a desirable option. Devon suggested that we pick one day a week to eat only unprocessed plants. No bread, no chips, no french fries, no cupcakes, no cheese.
We chose Sunday as our once a week challenge day.
That first day I have to say I was confused about what to eat. I had a banana for breakfast then attempted to proceed with the day. By 10am my stomach was making muffled screams about abuse. I hit the store in desperation and devoured a pineapple half, two more bananas, a bowl full of strawberries, and half a cantaloupe. Luckily, Devon invited me over for dinner that night so I didn't have to continue taxing my brain. We ate fresh corn on the cob and tiny potatoes.
The next day I felt incredibly good, and I knew I could never go back to eating mostly processed foods. I looked through the fridge and tried to think of creative ways to combine my remaining fruit stores with the frozen vegetables we've had since the last ice age. Mostly I just threw things together in bowls and dumped red wine vinegar and olive oil on them. It was good, but not great.
Then I fell back on what I know how to do: I asked the internet for advice.
And that's how I found a bunch of fresh food recipes that have changed the way I think about eating. As a runner, I'm pretty attached to the idea of eating carbs for fuel. That's still true, but now I'm figuring out that white bread isn't the only source of carbohydrates (are you as surprised as I am?). This is as big of a deal for me as when I discovered Greek yogurt, and that's a pretty big freakin' deal.
Amazement number 1: Last week I went to Fred Meyer and bought enough fruits and veggies to feed a vegan army. Normally the grocery bill is around $70. The price for only healthy food: $30. I just saved $40 by not taking years off my life, kinda a win-win.
Amazement number 2: Thursday I went for a 10 mile run, powered only by watermelon salad (recipe below) and saw no difference in the way I felt or in my average mile time. This runs counter to my belief that cheese pizza is the best fuel for running (just kidding...sorta).
Amazement number 3: If you wrap corn on the cob (still in the husk) in a wet paper towel and microwave it for 3 minutes, it comes out perfectly.
Amazement number 4: I'm not starving. I'm not exhausted. I'm also not bloated. That's more than one amazement, but the general idea is that I feel really good.
Amazement number 5: Eating now feels like an accomplishment instead of a chore. I'm enjoying my food a lot more since I made it myself. Yesterday I even went up to Green Bluff and picked cherries to use for my Cherry Chik'n.
I'm planning to continue limiting Sunday to just raw foods, and introducing healthier options into all the other days of the week. Below are a few of the recipes we have tested and loved.
Tomato Watermelon Salad - Toss all ingredients in a large bowl
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 small red onion
- 3 heirloom tomatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks
- 1 red bell pepper, also cut
- 3 1/2 cups watermelon
- 7 oz feta cheese (remove feta if desired)
Corn Avocado Salad - Toss all ingredients in a large bowl
- 2 cups corn
- 1 avocado
- 1 orange or yellow bell pepper
- 4 pepperoncinis
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- 1 Tofuky Italian "Sausage"
- 2 cups tomatoes
- 2 tbsp olive Oil
- 1 tbsp crushed red peppers
- Quorn Chik'n Tenders (vegi chicken substitute)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups fresh cherries
- 2 tsp balsamic vinaigrette
Cook Chik'n tenders in a medium sauce pan with olive oil. Add salt and pepper to season.