Broccoli Avocado Cashew Salad (Raw, Gluten Free, Soy Free)
So truthfully I haven't written in awhile - all the previous posts were from the Fall of 2015 right in the midst of my transitioning to a plant-based diet (my anniversary will be August 1st, 2016), and now it's months later, and I'm finally in a place where I can start blogging recipes again.
A lot has changed to say the least.
Here's a quick recap: From August to December I still classified myself as a "Junk Food Vegan." Just because you don't eat animal products doesn't mean you eat healthy!! I know plenty of overweight and unhealthy vegans who overeat processed foods (c'mon now, Oreos are vegan you know) and are on their way to developmental diseases like diabetes or heart disease because they don't watch what they eat. I knew that I needed a change in order to get healthier so I decided to take the New Year seriously, get my fitness routine down and get my diet in order....
Now to the Present: I'm at the tail end of my 30 day Raw Vegan Challenge, and I can't express enough how stabilized I feel about my diet. Not only do I not have any cravings for foods I never seemed to be able to say no to, I also surprisingly do not miss cooked food. I have had a few cheat days where I had a cooked meal, and also, for some reason I didn't realize Rice Cakes weren't raw, so I had a whole pack (oops, haha), but I've been 95% raw and pretty proud of myself.
Some positive results of being raw:
1) Being raw has helped me learn the power of portion control. Before I went raw I seemed to always over eat - perhaps a side effect mental habit of thinking, "Oh I'm not eating enough because I'm only eating plants," which is a pretty typical thought I would have when I first transitioned to being plant-based.
2) I've lost 11 pounds in the last month and a half. Granted, this isn't completely due to being raw but I do believe being raw has contributed to my weight loss. At the turn of January I went on a few New Year's Resolution challenges - the first one was a 30-Day Sugar Free Challenge (processed sugar) that was organized by my fitness trainer, Christina Boyce (who kicks a LOT of ass). Now, I've avoided processed sugar for awhile now, but being on this challenge made me really scrutinize everything I was eating. I watched a Sugar documentary and basically it said that while processed sugar is bad for you, you should really watch your natural sugar intake too, which I wasn't doing previously. So on this challenge I limited my natural sugars and eliminated all processed sugar from my diet. Then, I also upped my fitness routine - started doing hot pilates and fitness to compliment my hot yoga practice. Then, in the middle of the diet, I went fully raw for 30 days. So I think all of these things have helped me lose the weight, but again, I know being raw has helped a lot.
3) I seem to have developed a much closer relationship to how food affects my body. Being raw seems to open the doorway for body intuition. Now, instead of mindlessly choosing foods due to how they taste or what time of day it is, I listen to what my body tells me and from there I decide on what to eat. I know that as I continue down this journey, this intuition will increase...it is a great feeling to be in control of my diet-decisions!
4) Eating raw seems to have developed an even more creative streak in the kitchen for me....Now, I know cooking foods gives you a lot of options, but being raw? It's incredible how much more you appreciate fresh, whole foods and the nutrients they give your body when you're eating raw. I've created some staple dressings and combinations that are easily favorites and I'm so excited to share some of them.
I'm excited to continue eating raw with the occasional cooked meal (once or twice a week), and see and feel the changes :).
So the recipe I'm sharing today is the Raw Broccoli Avocado Cashew Salad I made today and just fell in love with. It wasn't really planned - it just happened. All I had left in my fridge was a bunch of kale, clover sprouts, broccoli and green pepper. There are a few steps involved so yes, this requires time and patience - but as I have learned, eating mindfully cultivates patience, and with adapting this lifestyle you create time in your day to eat so intentionally.
If you do end up trying it please let me know how it turns out!!!
Nissa, Solidarite Kitchen
Raw Broccoli Avocado Cashew Salad
Ingredients: two heads of broccoli (keep the stem), 1 cup soaked cashews (raw cashews soaked in water for at least 6 hours), 1 large green bell pepper, 1/2 large has avocado, 1/2 yellow onion or 2 green onions (optional), 6oz mushrooms (optional), 2 tsp rice wine vinegar, 1 tbsp garlic powder, 1/2 lime, 2 tbsp water, and sea salt.
Procedure: chop up the two heads of broccoli and the stem into very small pieces (like 1/2 in-1in pieces - some of the broccoli florets can be a bit bigger so that the salad doesn't loose its meatiness), chop up 1/2 of the green bell pepper and leave 1/2 aside. Chop the remaining 1/2 into 1/2-1 in pieces. Chop also the onions and mushrooms into 1/2-1in pieces. Put all veggies into one bowl and mix together. Set veggies aside.
Cashew Cheese. Blend together the soaked cashews with the 1/2 green bell pepper, rice vinegar, garlic powder and water. Squeeze 1/4 of the lime into the mixture and keep blending. Sea salt to taste.
Add cashew cheese to the veggies and massage the cheese into the veggies well. Add the remainder 1/4 lime juice. Chop up the 1/2 avocado and massage into the veggies. Sea salt to taste, add pepper if you like.
Serve and Enjoy!
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