It’s not easy being green

Wednesday, September 25, 2013 Permalink

Sadly I’m old enough to remember the release of Kermit’s not-so-chartbusting hit, “It’s not easy being green.” (Incidentally I couldn’t recall exactly what was so hard about being green, so I had to find the YouTube clip. And yes… you’re welcome!)

Regular readers will know that I am FAR FROM the healthiest person to walk this planet. Indeed, if there was a spectrum of healthy-eaters to not-healthy-eaters, I’d definitely be nearer to the latter.

I’ve confessed to my dislike of a range of scary vegetables, leafy stuff and almost anything green. (Which in itself is strange because – as a youngster – my fave colour was green and I had a two-toned green bedroom! #randomfact)

However… I recently succumbed to blogger peer group pressure and tried a few ‘green’ things that weren’t quite as scary as I imagined and tasted a lot better than I expected.

During my recent trip to the Gold Coast, I had the opportunity to participate in a healthy raw foods cooking class with some fellow bloggers.

Now… the combination of ‘healthy’, ‘raw’ and ‘food’ in the same sentence would normally make me gag, however… we were provided with a menu beforehand and I was (instead) agog with excitement as I discovered we were to make brownies and cheesecake and the like.

I was – understandably – less enthused about the green juice and the green soup. However… always one to try anything (okay, so that’s not true, but I felt obliged with others around) I *ahem* willingly tasted all on offer.

Alessandra Alfredo worked as a chef and pharmaceutical rep before circumstances (family illness) forced her to research healthier food options. A font of information about all things food and nutritional, Alessandra now runs The Healthy Gourmet, on the Gold Coast in Queensland, offering private and corporate cooking classes as well as catering services.

We had the good fortune to gather in Alessandra’s kitchen to watch her work her magic with a heap of raw foods (ably assisted by fellow Brazilian, Vanessa).

For those in the know, Raw Foodism is ‘a diet involving uncooked, unprocessed and often organic and wild food’. Food is not heated above 40-46C (104-115F). Alessandra doesn’t strictly advocate raw foodism, but prefers organic and unprocessed foods as much as possible. As we were participating in a raw food ‘cooking’ class, Alessandra made five different recipes with only a food processor (well, plus a bowl and spoon and knife and stuff. Obviously!).

Smoothies and home-made juices are SO ‘in’ right now and my fellow bloggers had already attempted a range of variations and were relatively expert. Only yours-truly struggled with the notion of putting green leafy things in something I was about to drink.

The Healthy Gourmet’s Mean Green Juice (Fat Sick and Nearly Dead):
4 stalks of celery (carrot or another ‘hard’ vegetable would work instead)
1 cucumber (a ‘fruit’ vegetable like tomato or capsicum could be substituted, but remove most of the seeds)
ginger to taste
2 green apples (or a similar sweet fruit)
6 leaves of kale

Obviously no ‘method’ is needed. You just put it in a blender / food processor (in stages if necessary) and blend. This juice reeks of healthiness and is rich in: dietary fibre; Vitamins C, A, K, B6; calcium; iron; manganese; and magnesium.

I’d most definitely swap the cucumber for something else, but other than that… it was actually quite yummy. And I couldn’t taste the kale. At all. (Thank god!)

And then we came to the soup. Not my favourite dish of the day, although it did taste of some things I really enjoy!

The Healthy Gourmet’s Alkalising and Energising Green Soup:
1 avocado
1 small zucchini (chopped)
2 stalks of celery (chopped)
2 cups of raw spinach
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup coriander
2 slices green pepper
1/8 cup raw onion (chopped)
1 small clove of garlic
1/4 cup raw almonds (soaked overnight if possible… I think that means they’ve been ‘activated’!)
1/4 tsp sea salt to taste
1.5 cups of filtered water
juice of 1/2 – 1 lemon

Method: Place all ingredients in the food processor (except the salt) and process to your desired consistency (and warmth if you have a vitamix/thermamix etc). Alternatively you may pour the soup into a saucepan and gently warm over a low heat. Or… just have it chilled (which is what we did). The soup can be garnished with seeds or sprouts.

Now, I don’t like avocado and Alessandra confessed that she was also most certainly not a fan. However, it’s used to give the soup its creamy texture and its taste disappears into its fellow ingredients.

My fellow diners all enjoyed this soup immensely. I loved the texture as well as the taste of coriander, garlic and lemon coming through.

When I was at a health retreat (years ago) we started each evening meal with soup and I can most-definitely see the benefits of quenching one’s appetite in winter with a warm soup, or in summer with something cool, before tucking into a main meal.

And then we got onto our main course, starting with Zucchini Pasta and the yummiest sauce EVER! But more on that next time…

Are you a lover of juices, smoothies and soups?
Any interesting recipes to share?
Can you believe I ate green stuff?

PS. This experience motivated me to try a smoothie when out for breakfast last weekend. I’m sure it wasn’t as healthy as Alessandra’s but, still… (small steps!)

Disclaimer: I had the opportunity to participate in the cooking class compliments of Tourism and Events Queensland. Thanks to our lovely host Shelley and Alessandra (and Vanessa) from The Healthy Gourmet.

  • Char
    September 26, 2013

    Nope I can’t believe you ate green stuff. It’s amazing what the power of peer group pressure can do.

    • Debbish
      September 26, 2013

      Ha! I know… didn’t want to lose face or appear TOO precious in front of others. (A bit precious… fine, but too much so…!) 😉

  • Annaleis
    September 26, 2013

    I’d like to think I would like the green smoothies – but each time I try they aren’t so nice – and I actually think its the texture not the taste. So have you made you own since you came home ???

    • Debbish
      September 26, 2013

      I haven’t Annaleis as I don’t have a food processor etc, but – as it happens – I’m going shopping for one tomorrow! (Am hoping to get something small and cheap as I’m not much of a cook!)

      And I’d need mine really well blended. Years ago (when I was doing Weight Watchers) I had a blender and tried to have a banana smoothie (banana, milk, honey and icecubes) every morning but I also had to strain it cos I gagged if I got any chunks of banana in my drink. The watermelon smoothie I had (out) on Saturday was lovely and ‘smooth’.

      • Jess
        October 1, 2013

        Watermelon in smoothie or juice is amazing!

        Good on you for trying and liking it!! My husband is really picky and barely eats vegetables but whenever I finally convince him to try one he is generally surprised that he likes them.

        • Debbish
          October 2, 2013

          I think if the taste is disguised then it’s much much easier to try something new!

  • Satu
    September 27, 2013

    I eat smoothies almost daily, but I have to admit I don’t use green ingredients as often as I could. And because veggies are expensive in Finland, making the Green soup would probably make me go broke!

    I love avocado though. Now that I’ve learned to put it in my smoothies it’d difficult to be without.

    I envy your experimentation with stand-up paddleboarding. I’d like to try it some day. I must be much easier than surfing? 🙂

    • Debbish
      September 27, 2013

      I suspect paddleboarding is easier than surfing Satu.

      I hadn’t realised veges were so expensive there. I guess we’re quite fortunate here – re fruit and vegetables. But, it’s great you have smoothies regularly!

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