Sunday, April 15, 2012

Seeing God - Carrot Salad

I've been threatening this post for a while, but had to delay it to share the good news about my medical results (see We Interrupt This Blog).  So, finally, here it is.

As I came towards the end of my 15-day juice fast, I began to worry a bit about what I would eat when it was over.  I knew I was supposed to take it easy on myself and eat just fruits and vegetables for at least a few days to give my body some time to adjust to solid food.  I'd also been reading a lot about other highly nutritious foods like nuts, seeds, beans and "superfoods" like goji berries, chia seeds and cacao.  I'd started ordering them as well, mostly online, and was gathering quite a store of them in the pantry closet to have on hand when I began eating again.  I viewed this stockpile as my defense or arsenal against the inevitable desire for sausage and chocolate chip cookies, I guess.

I also own maybe a dozen or so cookbooks, and as the end got closer, I began looking through them to find some good recipes.  A few days before the juice fast was to end, I picked up the book Tassajara Cooking, given to me maybe 20 years ago by a girlfriend's parents (Jude, perhaps you can relay this story to them?).  As I read it, I practically had a religious experience.  I'm not joking.  As I read this recipe in particular, my jaw hit the floor.  "It's so simple!  I mean, it's ridiculous!" I exclaimed to my wife, "I feel like I have just seen...GOD."  I laughed.  I practically roared.  It was not unlike the howl that engulfed me upon leaving the doctor's office last week.  It was one of those moments of singular clarity when you see both the overwhelming beauty and the incredible simplicity of the universe at the same time.  (Okay, yes, fine, at this point I hadn't eaten solid food in almost two weeks, but I absolutely stand by the revelatory nature of that moment).

Really, though, talk about simple - this recipe is grated carrots with some lemon juice and a bit of salt, and upon reading it, I JUST COULD NOT WAIT to eat it.  I lusted, I salivated and I'm pretty sure I went to bed that night dreaming about it.  I decided that it would be one of the first things I ate off my fast.

Simple Carrot Salad:

2-3 carrots, scrubbed and grated
1 tbsp lemon juice
pinch or two of salt.

Mix ingredients in a bowl. Great additions to this are raisins, sunflower seeds (or sliced almonds) and some thinly sliced apples.  The first time I used sliced almonds and when I ran out of those, I used the sunflower seeds.  Both are excellent.

This is one of my new favorite meals, just ask the guys I eat lunch with at work.  Perhaps I should start taking pictures of the foods and including them.  I think so, especially considering my new creation, Forbidden Rice with Citrus Chutney.  Yes, pictures definitely coming.

The other enormous (and and transcendent) realization I remember having that night came after reading that recipe and some of the others in that book.  I went downstairs to make my juice "dinner," visions of carrots still dancing in my head, and, to be honest, sort of shocked at how jazzed I was at the idea of eating that incredible food when my fast was over.  As it came to me, I said to my wife with awe: "I CAN STILL LOVE FOOD!" I said in amazement.  "I just have to love the RIGHT food.  Oh, MAN!"  And that's what that juice fast helped me do.

And that's what I'm doing to this day.  It's been just about 6 weeks now, and instead of eating mostly fruits and vegetables for "just a few days to give my body some time to adjust," that's pretty much all I've eaten, period.  There have been lots of nuts and seeds as well, along with a bit of grain - some black rice, red quinoa (technically a seed, actually) and a small bit of whole grain pasta (and some whole wheat matzoh around Easter and Passover).  I realize that may seem strange to many people, being accustomed, as we are, to meals built mostly around some chunk or protein, sausage or otherwise.  However, I remember reading in one of the juicing books (maybe the one by Steve Meyerowitz, a.k.a. "Sproutman") that people always wondered skeptically at his diet, which consisted of pretty much what I've been eating, asking him, "Shouldn't you eat a more balanced diet?" His response was something like "I do eat a balanced diet. I eat about 50% fruits and about 50% vegetables."  I remember reading that thinking "Well, clearly this guy's really a bit of a wacko."  Now I'm not so sure he's all that off.  Quite the opposite I guess.  I mean, don't even get me started on salad.  I practically get high off making it these days.  Really, ask my wife.  If no one makes an "I Love Salad" bumper sticker yet, I may have my own for sale on this blog soon!

I've told my daughter Phoebe that we are going to be leading (or at least part of) the "Real Food Revolution" (there could be worse people to channel than Jamie Oliver, right?).  A revolution is what it feels like to me.  I'm finding it pretty astonishing that I can feel this good eating only that food.  I can't see a reason to stop.  And to be quite honest, I'm also looking forward to my next juice fast.  I'm thinking perhaps once a quarter, maybe at the beginning of each season.  A nice 15-day juice cleanse in June to start the summer out right?  Sounds good to me.

Be healthy, people!


  1. So happy you're feeling good. Do you crave protein at all? I love salad too but there's always a bit of goat cheese or tuna or egg finding it's way in there!!!

  2. Hey Christine -

    I have thought about protein. I have considered the taste sensation of protein. I think I define "crave" as "I really really want it," and in that case, I can honestly say I have not craved it.

    I've definitely thought about it and I haven't made a hard and fast about it yet, either, like "I will never eat another steak again for as long as I live."

    And based on what the doctor said, I may end up eating some fish sooner rather than later.

  3. Hi Sal!

    Congrats on your awesome new blog and health journey! I think it's fantastic. Your carrot salad sounds delicious! My husband and I are vegan and gluten-free, and we wouldn't have it any other way. I know you have been juicing, so wanted to suggest that you try blending once in an while. We have a green smoothie every morning, which we love! It's more filling than juice, bc it contains all the fiber. Just fill your blender with various lettuces (romaine, spinach, chard, kale) and a cup of water. Blend thoroughly. Then, fill it again with some celery and a few pieces of fruit (I recommend apple and frozen mango). Blend again. Finally, add a handful of parsley, a banana and some lemon juice. Blend once more, and you have a perfect breakfast!

    Also, you mentioned chia seeds above...try them soaked in almond milk for 10 min. Add cinnamon and raw cacao powder. Perfect dessert pudding!

    Good luck!
    Jessica Bower (Courtney and Roger's daughter/step-daughter)