Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Salad days

c/o cookingwithdrkira.com
Hi everyone and Happy New Year! Thanks to those of you who sent Christmas wishes, and don't apologise for their digital format, they still count!

I've been a bit stumped thinking of what to blog about. Nothing big is happening here (thankfully), easy days, the odd walk, a bit of study, reading books, trying not to eat all of the kids Christmas chocolate haul (Note: if you use it in baking that's totally an excuse to eat more of it).
I was just on a Facebook group adding my 2c to a discussion on healthier eating, and I realised there is something small but substantial going on around here: I'm eating raw vegetables.

This is relatively new for me. I mean, I was always partial to the odd carrot stick dipped in hummus, or a grated carrot and beetroot salad in the summer. But once the colder weather sets in, that was me and raw vegetables (and fruits too, I'm not a big fruit fan) going our separate ways.
So I've been following a great healthy eating guru from the US, Sheree Clark (see her website here) for the last few months. She has a wonderful Youtube channel, and shares lots of raw vegan recipes with her viewers. It's thanks to her I ate a ton of stuffed dates (stuffed with homemade nut butters) rather than desserts this Christmas, bringing them to parties with me. And my nutrition studies have shown me how essential fibre is in our diets. Now that I understand the science, the advice actually resonates with me and I can't ignore it any longer.

As I learn more I'm getting more of an appreciation for nutrition as a long-term health insurance. I went to my blog's "About me" page last week and edited it a bit, I can no longer say I "eat junk food" because I rarely do. This is a huge turnaround for me. It isn't a daily habit now, it happens only weekly, and I definitely enjoy it less as I know exactly how those trans fats and sugars are affecting my body. Takeaways are a pretty distant memory, as I haven't managed to find a good veggie option without MSG. Ditto alcohol. I can have a glass or two for a special occasion, but there's no more "wine with dinner" going on here. This Christmas season has shown me how much it affects my body, and I just about staved off a flare-up of my psoriatic arthritis by keeping a lid on the alcohol and sugars I consumed. Having a condition like that is a blessing in disguise as I see the markers appear a day after my excesses, creaky knees that don't like going upstairs, sore finger joints and patches on my arms. So to counteract it I drank loads of water and upped my omega 3s for a while. Everyone reacts differently to foods, this is just what works for me.

Enough about my knees, I want to tell you about the lovely fresh vegetables I've been eating. My favourite salad and the one I'd recommend for non-raw eaters is carrots. Every few days using the food processor I'll grate up a load of carrots, add toasted sunflower seeds, dress with olive oil and apple cider vinegar, and that's it. It's really sweet and juicy and I find I'm actually craving it if I don't make it at least once a week. I'll prepare a huge bowl and eat it over a couple of days. I even used the last of it in carrot muffins the other day (just added egg, a little buttermilk, oats and date syrup to sweeten, and a little flour to thicken it). My kids love this too.

c/o ayurvedamelbourne.net.au
Yesterday I shredded up half a head of cabbage, made some homemade mayonnaise (egg yolk whisked with olive oil dropped in, vinegar and salt), added some sliced onion, walnut and redcurrants (really lovely frozen berries in Polish/Lithuanian supermarkets) and ate that for my dinner. The leftovers got additions of chopped cheddar cheese and cannellini beans the next day with some parsley and spring onion. Adding new elements the second day really makes it interesting and of course you're getting the added nutrition of the extra ingredients too.

I've four large beetroots looking at me, so I'm going to grate them and add onion, more sunflower seeds (I bought a huge bag!), parsley and spring onion and my failsafe dressing (apple cider vinegar, olive oil and maybe a little mustard powder or orange/lemon juice). I'm trying to stick with Irish, seasonal produce, and nightshades like bell peppers make my PA worse anyway. I don't add salt to my salads, as I figure I'm getting enough from other foods. I've also stopped adding sugar to things like tomato-based sauces, and you wouldn't notice it's gone. Definitely enough sugar in our diets.

And surprisingly, salads take a lot of time to prepare! So dinner was boiled eggs and sourdough toast tonight! I get lovely sourdough in our local Lithuanian shop, no preservatives. I would love to buy the Irish organic sourdough but it's not stocked near enough to me.

My baby is calling, gotta run, please add any nice salad ideas below!
Nee x


  1. niamh my mums famous salad is grated beetroot and carrot..chopped parseley toasted seeds and paramsan with olive oil and balsamic..its divine! also you can sub the parsley for mint and the parmasan for feta and its great too..could live on this salad! gab x

    1. That does sound amazing, I have everything but the carrot, might have to make it for supper! And lovely ideas for substitutions too, thank you Gab! Happy new year xx

  2. Beetroot, carrot and apple and walnuts with a bit of lemon is lovely

    1. Oh yum, I love the idea of apple in with it too. Gonna try this one, thanks for taking the time to comment Ruth, happy new year xx

  3. Trying to be more healthy too and have a salad with dinner. My favourite winter salad is sweet and sour celeriac and swede....
    Ottolenghi has amazingly simple but unusual salad recipes...it's all about the flavour, different textures and colour.
    Aoife x


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