Everyone needs a little self-improvement, right? That’s why I’ve set a personal challenge for the month of July to tweak here and there areas in my life that need some extra attention. Nothing radical mind you. Just little things I can do to bring more clarity, more joy, and more vitality to improve my daily routine.
Day 2: Eat Less Processed Foods
My problem: Processed foods are just way to easy to use therefore I eat way too much of them.
Every food is processed in some way. Getting fruit off a tree, washing it, and then cutting it up to eat is technically processing that fruit. When I say I want to eat less processed foods in my diet, I am referring to foods that have been chemically processed, refined, and “dumb-downed.” I recently read 9 Ways That Processed Foods Are Slowly Killing People and boy, did that ever wake me up. After all, I’m trying to add quality years to my life, not rip them off.
The best way to stay away from processed foods is to choose non-processed foods AKA Raw Foods. It’s been three years since I was first introduced to raw food cuisine and learned that raw food consists of nuts, grains, fruits and vegetable. The more I can eat of these types of foods, I will have more energy, better skin, lower cholesterol and minimal stomach issues not to mention that it will also help my goal from Day 1: Lose weight sensibly. As my friend and raw chef, Jenny Teresi, says, “You just feel good” when you eat more raw foods.
My goal: Eat less processed foods at every meal
My plan: Think ahead and plan meals that include more raw foods.
When I was raising my children, I was the queen of meal planning. each week, I would sit down, plan out our meals, and shop accordingly. Generally, I was doing a lot of cooking from scratch so I knew exactly what I was feeding my family. Becoming empty nesters has meant cooking for two has become boring and way too time consuming. The solution: Eat fast or better yet, eat out — both processed food choices. Time to go back to my roots. Meal plan (even for just the two of us) and incorporate non-processed alternatives.
Breakfast is an easy place to start. Get away from processed cereals and dairy milk. Almond Milk is a tasty, alkalizing substitute for soy or animal milks. It is easy to make from scratch and takes exactly 30 minutes from set-up to clean-up to have a 5 day supply. Plus, it is very tasty!!!
Ingredients: 1/2 cup raw almonds (I get mine at Sprouts or Whole Foods)
1-1/2 cups purified water (I use the purified water that comes out of my fridge)
2 Medjool dates (Costco sells a box of these pretty cheap. They last forever in the refrigerator)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla (for taste)
Equipment needed: a high-powered blender (mine is a Bosch) and a nut milk bag (I use a fine mesh painter’s bag that I got at Home Depot for like $3.00– two in a pack!!)
2) Separate the milk from the almond pulp by pouring the blender contents into the mesh bag over a bowl. Squeeze gently (reminds me of what it must be like to milk a cow) until all the milk is pressed through. Save the pulp and put in an airtight container in the freezer to be used later and added as extra protein to smoothies, cookies, or bread.
****Note: this recipe is perfect for one or two people for 3 or 4 days. If you need a greater quantity, the ratio is 1 part nuts to 3 parts water.
Now, what to use the Almond Milk with? During hot summer months, I love making this Muesli from Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People by Jenny Cornbleet and pouring Almond Milk over it:
Raw Food Muesli
Ingredients: 1/2 cup rolled oats
1 tablespoon raw walnuts or almonds
2 teaspoons raw sunflower seeds
2 teaspoons agave or honey
***Note: Make a large batch by using 4 cups oats, 1/2 cup walnuts and 1/4 cup sunflower seeds. Store in an airtight container on your pantry shelf.
Day 2: Less Processed Foods In My Diet