Expanding food horizons

Last week I met a lovely woman who has a real passion for raw vegan eating. I’d spotted a notice on a pinboard somewhere and checked out her Facebook page out of interest. As a regular at Forfar Farmer’s Market, I was looking forward to meeting her, seeing her stall and what she had to offer, and just chatting with someone who has a passion for food, even if her beliefs differ from mine.

I bought a couple of items, onion bread (more like crackers really) and her coriander pesto. Both were lovely! Following that I wanted to understand more about how she’s gotten to where she is now, so invited her round for herbal tea and made my choc-nut bites… hoping that these were raw and vegan enough! Turns out they were, phew. We chatted for a while about food and community and health and attitudes and all sorts of stuff.

Now, I’m not about to turn raw or vegan any time soon, but I never want to discount a particular way of eating because it’s not wholeheartedly for me. I think there’s something to learn from understanding more about how other people like to maintain a healthy and nutritional lifestyle. Although clean eating/paleo generally works well for me, I did realise I was getting too much protein, so upped the plant-based items on my plate and reduced the protein. I’ve also incorporated juices in to my daily diet – which are not on any pure paleo diet that I’ve read about. It’s just about finding out what works for you.

So, what can I learn from raw? Most of the reading I discovered has some fairly negative opinions about raw, but I do believe there’s no denying that some raw fruits and vegetables in your diet aren’t a bad thing – daily salads, crudites, some fruit on the side – add a bit of variation and some different nutrients and enzymes to the cooked menu without having to make drastic changes. Although reading a couple of articles does not make me an expert of course, I’ll leave that to Caroline 🙂 Another thing I’ve learnt lately is to cook vegetables for as little time as possible. Over-boiling can lessen the nutritional content quite significantly. I’ve never been a fan of mushy veg anyway, but I could be guilty of leaving a pot of soup on for far too long. So I’m keeping more of an eye on stuff and only letting it cook for as long as needed.

I feel like I’m adding more strings to my personal diet bow, and will incorporate a bit more raw wherever I can. And I’m pondering what to make for a raw pot luck dinner a few weeks! Guacamole anyone? More adventurous suggestions welcome!

Meantime, I’ll continue to enjoy the big pot of chicken, sweet potato and tarragon soup I made at the weekend. It’s my fave! And having not made it in ages (I did that thing where you make something too often and it becomes boring, so stopped for a while), I was really looking forward to it. It didn’t disappoint! A lovely winter warmer and a good hearty lunch. Enjoy!

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