By Nomi Shannon
Most people will agree that the question is not why eat healthy food, but how to eat healthy food.
When you’re starting out with any new type of cuisine, it takes a while to learn the “tricks of the trade”; the little short-cuts and strategies that save time and make food preparation a breeze.
Here are 12 tips that will help you become faster and more efficient in the kitchen, so you have time for all the other things that are important to your life.
- Always keeps at least two jars of sprouted items in your refrigerator. Whether they’re radish sprouts, clover sprouts or green pea sprouts, you’ll be glad to have them on hand for tossing into salads or placing at the bottom of a soup bowl.
- Always have sunflower sprouts (and buckwheat lettuce or pea shoots if growing your own) on hand. The most economical way to have them on hand is to grow them yourself. But, if that is not possible, consider buying them at a health food store or from a grower. Some growers will ship them directly to your home.
- Keep a jar of almonds or other favourite nuts soaking in the refrigerator. Change the water daily and they will keep, ready to use, for five days. (On the fifth day use them up in a salad, by eating as is, or as a crust or in a nut loaf, then begin the soaking process again.)
- Make up a big batch of your favourite paté each weekend, and add different flavours to vary the taste during the week. Remember to begin the sprouting process the night before. A paté made up of sprouted sunflower seeds will last the longest. (Soak 8-12 hours and sprout 4 hours or less, then rinse well.)
- Keep salad dressing ingredients like tahini, oil, lemons, garlic and onions on hand, so that you can whip up salad dressings quickly.
- Keep sauerkraut in your refrigerator. Once made, this tasty food will last for many weeks. It is a healthy addition to many recipes and makes a great condiment or side dish.
- Always have assorted greens, root vegetables, red peppers and parsley in your refrigerator so that you can throw together a meal quickly. Keep a large bowl of seasonal fruit ready to eat on your counter or in your refrigerator. Whether you shop each night on your way home from work, or go to the farmer’s market twice a week, buy the best, freshest organic produce that you can find that day and use it very soon after purchasing. (If you do not have the luxury of being able to obtain organic produce remember that eating fresh raw food is far superior to boxed, packaged lifeless foods.)
- If you have the budget to buy some but not all of your produce organic, the dirty dozen you should always buy organic are strawberries, spinach, potatoes, grapes, cherries, kale, celery, peaches, apples, blueberries, nectarines and bell peppers, while the safest non-organic fruits and veggies are avocado, onions, melons, pineapple, sweetcorn, sweet peas, asparagus, kiwi fruit, cabbage, melon, eggplant (aubergine) and grapefruit.
- Make a large salad every night for dinner. Prior to putting dressing on, remove enough to use for lunch the next day. Store in an airtight container with dressing on the side so the salad will stay fresh and crisp. (Or bring a small container of paté on the side to put atop the salad next day at work, or a small bag of your soaked nuts plus some dressing.)
- Keep a piece of fresh ginger root in your refrigerator and a back-up piece in a plastic bag in the freezer. You can flavour foods and make tea by grating in a little ginger. Note that you should never let frozen ginger thaw.
- Keep about a dozen peeled bananas in the freezer. Choose very ripe fruit, peel, and freeze them in plastic bags. They make wonderful “ice cream” and other frozen treats, including great morning smoothies.
- To maintain freshness and for convenience, keep the following foods stored in your freezer: shelled nuts and seeds, carob, dried coconut, grains, dried herbs and spices. If you do not have room in your freezer, store the shelled nuts and seeds and bananas in the freezer, and the rest in the refrigerator. (Nuts and seeds still in their shell have a long shelf life and do not require refrigeration.)
By creating habits based on the above 12 suggestions you will find that you can arrive home at 6pm and be eating dinner by 6:30!
Nomi Shannon, award-winning author and world-renowned coach, wrote the best selling book, The Raw Gourmet, which has sold over 200,000 copies. Her second book, Raw Food Celebrations (with S.Duruz), is flying off the shelves at bookstores worldwide. Since there’s conflicting information about what’s the “best” raw food diet, many people wonder what to eat. Nomi shows people a simple path to thriving on raw food and leaving the confusion behind. Just as important, she empowers people to whip up delicious meals quickly and easily, turning newbies into thriving home chefs practically overnight. Visit her at www.rawgourmet.com.