26 November 2008

My First Thanksgiving In The Raw


So, it's here – my first Turkey Day, sans turkey and all the trimmings. Isn't it funny that the mountains of food surrounding the bird are considered mere trimmings? In a culture where more is most definitely better, it speaks volumes for our lifestyles, not to mention our waistlines.

My eldest brother is hosting this year. And, where there's Hungarians, there's food – and lots of it. Football? A side show. The main event: eating. Never a big lover of turkey, I can take it or leave it, but oh those trimmings – I could easily make a meal of mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn souffle, homemade rolls with butter... You get the picture. Starch. I was in my second decade before I realized there was another food group (and thy name is sugar), but starch remained my first true love.

Since transitioning to a diet of primarily raw plant foods, I've managed to shed 70 pounds without counting one point, calorie, carb or fat gram. And glory hallelujah, I am grateful. But, with T-Day approaching, it got me wondering...what kind of calories did I used to pack away?

Here's a caloric look at what a typical person will consume tomorrow:

8 oz white and dark meat turkey........ 480
1 C mashed potatoes......................... 300
1 C stuffing......................................... 400
3 to 4 ladles of gravy.......................... 300
3/4 C candied sweet potatoes............ 300
1/2 C green bean casserole............... 225
1/2 C cranberry sauce........................ 200
1/2 C gelatin with fruit......................... 120
1 roll with butter................................... 180
1 piece pumpkin pie.............................180
1/2 C whipped cream...........................100


TOTAL CALORIES............................ 2785

Yikes! And that's just dinner. Throw in a couple of mixed drinks with some cheese and crackers beforehand, a glass of wine with the meal, coffee with cream and sugar afterward...and you're pushing 3500, easily.

Thankfully, those days of eating myself into a food induced stupor are behind me. My plan for tomorrow is to have a large green smoothie – kale, banana, blueberry – before I leave for my brother's house, and to bring along four delicious raw dishes to enjoy and share with anyone brave enough my family. I've had so much fun this past week, pouring through cookbooks for ideas, testing recipes and creating my own.

Happy Thanksgiving and please pass the salad!


Garlic Green Beans


6-8 C water
2 pounds fresh green beans, stem snapped off

4 cloves garlic, pressed

1/4 C extra-virgin olive oil

3 Tbsp tamari (or Nama Shoyu if you are gluten tolerant)


Boil water and allow to cool slightly. Place beans in a deep bowl and pour enough hot water to cover. Allow to sit 2 minutes. Drain and rinse.

Return to bowl and toss with prepared mixture of garlic, olive oil and tamari.

Waldorf Salad

1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped into bite-size pieces
2 Fuji and 2 Granny Smith apples, cored and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 C red seedless grapes
1/2 C raisins
1/2 C walnuts, soaked
1 C Almond Mayonnaise (recipe below)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss well.

Almond Mayonnaise
from Rawsome! by Brigette Mars

1 C raw almonds, soaked overnight & rinsed
1/4 C water

1/2 tsp Celtic salt

4 dates, soaked 20 minutes

juice of 1 lemon
1/4 C extra-virgin olive oil



Combine all ingredients except the olive oil in a blender and blend until ground and thoroughly mixed. While blending, slowly drizzle in the olive oil as the mixture thickens.


Cauliflower L'Orange
from Dining in the Raw by Rita Romano

1 head cauliflower, finely chopped
4 small carrots, shredded

2 cloves garlic, pressed

1/2 C fresh dill

1/4 C fresh orange juice

1/2 avocado, peeled

Braggs Liquid Aminos to taste



Blend garlic, dill, orange juice, avocado and Braggs to make a dressing. Mix cauliflower, carrots and dressing together. Let sit one hour before serving.

Purdy Pecan Pie

Crust
2 C raw almonds, soaked & drained**
1/2 C pitted dates, soaked 20 minutes

Filling
1 C pitted dates, soaked 20 minutes
2 ripe bananas, peeled
1 orange, peeled and seeded
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cardamom

Topping
2 C raw pecans


To make the crust: Pulse the almonds in a food processor until evenly ground. Add dates and process into a dough-like consistency. Press the mixture into an 8-inch ceramic pie plate that has been greased with coconut butter. Place in the freezer to set while preparing the filling.

To make the filling: Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth and creamy. Spread the mixture evenly over the crust. Refrigerate one hour to set. To finish, arrange the raw pecans on top, creating a beautiful mandala.

**Note: The famed Indian yogi, Yogananda, said almonds foster "self control and calmness of the mind and nerves." Hello? Can you think of anything more beneficial to eat on Thanksgiving Day as you gather with family? Pass the almonds, please.



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