How sweet it is…

I’m having some degree of difficulty finding a way to eat really healthy. And I mean REALLY healthy. It seems close to impossible, or, maybe it has more to do with one’s (my) idea of “healthy”. Maybe in my head it’s as close to raw and natural as possible and really, that’s not a diet of convenience. Not even a little. Of course you can eat a piece of fruit easily and munch on choice raw veggies, but when it comes to grains, lentils, pasta, potatoes…. yeah then you’re more committed. Beans are easy peasy from the can, but cooking with most dried beans requires you to think ahead a day in advance to allow for soaking time. Grains need to be prepared, and even more, you need to procure them and in some areas (mine) finding more wholesome and unprocessed grains, such as quinoa or bulgar is about making a special trip to the local bio shop. When I started trying to consume less dairy and focus more on a vegan style diet, I began to notice that it’s way easy to make stunning desserts than savory meals. There’s a heavy lean towards fake cheese products, which for me defeats the purpose in some way of eating vegan. The supermarket is packed with synthetic meat replacements that have creepy ingredients in them, leaving me with the sensation of eating at Mc Donald’s. Vegan sauces are made with nuts, soaked and then blended and used on pasta and all sorts of ways but I’m not really sure consuming that many nuts in one go is great for you either. A lot of vegan or raw foods fall short (in my opinion) by over sweetening. It seems like so many recipes are laden with sugar via Stevia, agave, dried dates… I’m not sure about Stevia but I know that agave and dried dates both have a fair deal of sugar in them leaving them and the dishes they enhance a (camouflaged) calorie bomb. So much in fact that I’m not entirely sure it’s good to cook with them regularly. So maybe you have the opportunity to avoid refined sugar, but you substitute it for processed agave or calorie ridden dates. Where’s my healthy, natural food!?

Again, I’m seeing that maybe where I’m falling short here is by confusing my perception of the vegan diet as healthy and natural with the truth. The truth is probably more like, even vegans will consume processed foods of convenience because that’s just the “American lifestyle”. Also, many vegans aren’t herbivores for health as much as for moral beliefs, so who am I to go around making all these assumptions? I can accept that vegan or raw are not synonymous with low-calorie or even healthy at times, but I also keep in mind that choosing a recipe that doesn’t contain animal products doesn’t automatically earn me the “healthy well balanced diet” award, either.

Tonight I had a veggie stir fry with brussels sprouts, bean sprouts, peas, mushrooms, and red onions with sesame and soy marinated tempeh slices, and 2 buttery potatoes. Not a completely stellar meal, considering the oil required to sautée and the buttered potatoes, but better than what I really craved… pizza. And dessert was my attempt at adding more protein to my diet today; blended tofu with lemon, honey, and berries. I put in a fraction of the amount of honey stated in the recipe and actually found myself wondering if leaving it out all together wouldn’t have been the better choice. BUT, it was really tasty. I needed to finish my long, snowy day off with some degree of style, and I think this did it.

 Lemon Cream with Blackberries

Serves 4

  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup honey (I used less and added it to taste)
  • 1 package (12 ounces) silken tofu, firm or extra-firm, drained (I used firm, and the end result was similar to ricotta cheesecake. I think if you use softer tofu the blended result will be silkier so it’s your preference really)
  • 1 cup fresh blackberries (I used frozen and defrosted them)

Directions

  1. Combine 2 1/2 teaspoons of the lemon zest, lemon juice, honey, and tofu in a blender.
  2. Puree ingredients until smooth, scraping down sides of blender with rubber spatula as necessary.
  3. Divide lemon cream evenly among four bowls or serving glasses. Garnish each portion with blackberries and reserved lemon zest. Serve immediately or refrigerate.

Images and recipes: Whole Living

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