Healthy Lifestyle Blog

June 6, 2012

Fresh and Local

Summertime is the best time of the year for enjoying healthy locally grown produce. Here on Long Island there are increasing numbers of farmers markets, where you can find an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as other locally produced goods.

I love the Brattleboro Farmers Market where I can chat with local farmers, purchase freshly harvested veggies and fruits or plants to add to my garden, enjoy a delicious homemade lunch, browse the handcrafted items and maybe even buy a gift or two, enjoy some live music and watch the children in the sandbox. Whenever I am in Vermont, I make a point of spending some time at the Farmers Market. New farmers markets are cropping up all over the country. To find one near you just visit http://www.localharvest.org/farmers-markets/.

Another option for enjoying the local harvest is to become a member of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). CSA members support local farms by prepaying for a share of the harvest, and in return they receive a weekly share of the harvest – vegetables, fruits, herbs, and/or flowers. It’s a great way to try new foods while supporting local farms, your health and the environment.

If you are transitioning to a mostly raw plant-based lifestyle, summer is a great time to do so. Enjoy your bigger meals early in the day, and save dinner for something light. I typically start my day with a bowl of fresh fruit or a delicious smoothie. For lunch I enjoy a huge salad dressed with freshly squeezed lemon. I often add some hemp or sunflower seeds, or some diced avocado, for a healthy fat. If I am hungry for dinner, it is usually something light.

 

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Marilyn Chiarello, founder of A Taste of Light, is a certified raw vegan chef, educator and healthy lifestyle coach. She offers a variety of services including health coaching, classes, dinner parties, consultations and presentations. For more information, visit aTasteofLight.com or contact her directly - Marilyn@aTasteofLight.com or 802-254-9121. If you would like to receive more recipes and a monthly newsletter including articles about health and the environment, event updates and more, please submit your email address at the top of the right sidebar. For notification of blog updates only, you may subscribe directly or via RSS. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Filed under: Environment,Garden,Health,Nutrition,Raw Food,Vegan — Marilyn @ 6:57 pm

July 3, 2011

A Green Smoothie for Interdependence Day

In honor of Interdependence Day, I prepared a green smoothie to represent the wonderful abundance our earth provides for us.

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Marilyn Chiarello, founder of A Taste of Light, is a certified raw vegan chef, educator and healthy lifestyle coach. She offers a variety of services including health coaching, classes, dinner parties, consultations and presentations. For more information, visit aTasteofLight.com or contact her directly - Marilyn@aTasteofLight.com or 802-254-9121. If you would like to receive more recipes and a monthly newsletter including articles about health and the environment, event updates and more, please submit your email address at the top of the right sidebar. For notification of blog updates only, you may subscribe directly or via RSS. You may unsubscribe at any time.


July 2, 2011

Got Weeds? Make Dessert!

You may recall my Garden of Weedin’ from last summer. This year, I heavily mulched the garden, and I planted it on Memorial Day. When when I returned after a month (I live in NY and my garden is in VT) there were weeds, but it was certainly manageable.

One of the most abundant weeds that I found is commonly known as lemon clover. I remember a housemate who would pick it and eat it right from the garden, so rather than discard the mounds of lemon clover, I decided to make something with it. At first I thought I’d make a pesto, but as I worked in the hot sun, a frozen dessert seemed more appropriate. Here’s a video showing you what I did.

 

Lemon Clover Granita

lemon clover – remove roots – all other parts are edible
water – enough to blend
honey or other sweetener to taste

  1. Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend at high speed. Adjust for sweetness.
  2. Strain the liquid through a fine strainer or nut milk bag.
  3. Pour the strained liquid into a glass pan and place in the freezer.
  4. After about an hour, run a fork through the mixture, loosening it from the edges. Repeat every hour until all the liquid is frozen.
  5. Store in a sealed container in the freezer.

 

 

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Marilyn Chiarello, founder of A Taste of Light, is a certified raw vegan chef, educator and healthy lifestyle coach. She offers a variety of services including health coaching, classes, dinner parties, consultations and presentations. For more information, visit aTasteofLight.com or contact her directly - Marilyn@aTasteofLight.com or 802-254-9121. If you would like to receive more recipes and a monthly newsletter including articles about health and the environment, event updates and more, please submit your email address at the top of the right sidebar. For notification of blog updates only, you may subscribe directly or via RSS. You may unsubscribe at any time.


October 24, 2010

Seeds of Solidarity

Yesterday I spent the day visiting the Seeds of Solidarity Farm in Orange, MA. What an inspirational experience!

The founders, Deb Habib and Ricky Baruc have created a model for sustainable living in community. Several months ago, I took a class they were teaching at the Omega Institute – it was called “Grow Food Everywhere,” which I wrote about in a previous post entitled, Happy INTERdependence Day!

The day began with a tour of the farm and a talk about the cardboard method of no-till gardening. We broke for a potluck lunch and then visited two neighbors. I made a hemp seed tabouli and root veggie rolls with garlic cream sauce. I will be posting recipes soon.The first site was like visiting the site of an episode of “This Old House.” We saw a farmhouse renovation where local wood is being used and energy efficiency is first and foremost in the methods.Next we visited a goat farm. The farmer, Rachel, left her position in higher education to raise goats. She is an expert in soil biology and has teamed up with Ricky to do research on the benefits of the cardboard method he uses on the farm. The research should be published within the next few months.

I highly recommend that you visit the Seeds of Solidarity website to learn more and to subscribe to their newsletter. I also encourage you to consider making a tax deductible donation to the valuable work they are doing. With the holidays upon us, it is a good time to consider spending your dollars on the gift of life and community.

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Marilyn Chiarello, founder of A Taste of Light, is a certified raw vegan chef, educator and healthy lifestyle coach. She offers a variety of services including health coaching, classes, dinner parties, consultations and presentations. For more information, visit aTasteofLight.com or contact her directly - Marilyn@aTasteofLight.com or 802-254-9121. If you would like to receive more recipes and a monthly newsletter including articles about health and the environment, event updates and more, please submit your email address at the top of the right sidebar. For notification of blog updates only, you may subscribe directly or via RSS. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Filed under: Environment,Garden — Marilyn @ 2:29 pm

September 15, 2010

Fresh Heirloom Tomatoes => Gazpacho

This  year in the Northeast, it seems that the tomatoes are abundant and exceptionally delicious. I learned from my neighbor, who is a farmer, that the drought we experienced contributed to the abundance of tomatoes – it seems that tomatoes like dry conditions.

My neighbor’s farm is one of the only farms left in Nassau County. Rottkamp’s Farm is a real gem. Although the farm is not an organic farm, I believe buying locally grown can be more important in some instances than buying organic, especially when you can enjoy produce picked the same day – the flavor is one benefit, but considering that most of the produce we purchase is picked anywhere from 5-7 days before it gets to the store, the nutritional value of fresh picked produce can’t be beat. Buying locally grown food also is much kinder on the environment. There is no need for all the energy that is used for packaging and transporting, and the diversity of crops typical of local small farms is much healthier for the environment for many reasons. And of course another benefit is that you are supporting the local economy.

One of the first things you see when you get to the farm is a field of corn, with rows of sunflowers growing in the distance. The corn is amazing. The first summer after I adopted a raw vegan lifestyle, I missed running down to the farm to get 4-5 ears of freshly picked sweet corn for dinner. It was not until later that year that I learned that I could eat the corn raw. And how delicious it is! I don’t know why anyone would eat it any other way, especially since I typically burned the roof of my mouth because I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into the fresh cooked corn.

The heirloom tomatoes are also amazing. This year’s crop was so abundant that my neighbor gave me a box of “seconds” because they were going to end up in the compost. I decided to make marinara sauce and gazpacho. In my quest to find a good gazpacho recipe, I came upon the one below, which I modified a bit to make it raw vegan.

There’s much much more at Rottkamp’s farm. Some of my favorites are their melons, particularly the watermelon (sweet and crisp), kale, basil (huge bunches with the roots intact), zucchini – both green and yellow, “cheese” peppers – very sweet, and an incredible variety of squash.

I’ll return with some ways to enjoy raw squash, but for now, here’s something you can do if you can get a few pounds of freshly picked tomatoes.

Andalusian Gazpacho
adapted from Epicurious.com

1-2 cloves garlic
2 tsp. Himalayan or Celtic sea salt
2 Tbs. Sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon organic raw sugar or evaporated cane juice
3/4 tsp. ground cumin
2 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored, seeded and quartered
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  1. Place all the ingredients except the olive oil in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Add the olive oil and blend again,
  3. Optional – pass the soup through a sieve. This step is unnecessary if you are using a high-speed blender.

Transfer to a covered glass container and chill until cold – about 3 hours. Garnish with diced cucumber.

Note: This soup freezes well. I pour it into gallon zipper bags and lay it in the freezer. Thaw it out and then blend it again before serving.

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Marilyn Chiarello, founder of A Taste of Light, is a certified raw vegan chef, educator and healthy lifestyle coach. She offers a variety of services including health coaching, classes, dinner parties, consultations and presentations. For more information, visit aTasteofLight.com or contact her directly - Marilyn@aTasteofLight.com or 802-254-9121. If you would like to receive more recipes and a monthly newsletter including articles about health and the environment, event updates and more, please submit your email address at the top of the right sidebar. For notification of blog updates only, you may subscribe directly or via RSS. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Filed under: Garden,Health,Kitchen,Raw Food,Recipes,Vegan,Videos — Tags: , — Marilyn @ 4:59 pm

August 31, 2010

Lessons Learned in the Garden of Weedin’

Since my last post about my Vermont garden, I have cleared the garden and have been enjoying its bounty and the lessons learned from my weeds and neglect. As I had mentioned in the previous post, the most important lesson I learned was making an attitude adjustment. Rather than approaching the weeds with resistance, I made peace with them as I made room for better things.


The Weeds Were as Tall as the Sunflowers

Weeding the garden was a very meditative process. I took off my shoes and connected totally with the earth as I gradually cleared the area. For several days I went out early in the morning or late in the afternoon when it wasn’t too hot and enjoyed being present with my weeds. When there was only one small section left, I found that I didn’t want to finish it. It was like reading a great book that you can’t put it down, but not wanting to get to the end. So I left some weeds for the next day.

Some Diamonds (AKA Kale) in the Rough

I also learned that if we are open to accepting our weeds unconditionally, we might uncover some hidden purpose. Aside from the weeds providing shelter for insects, birds and a neighborhood cat, their shadows provided the necessary shade to allow my unattended Swiss chard to survive the dry summer heat. It was not until I removed the weeds surrounding the chard that I realized this. Within hours, the Swiss chard was totally wilted and so very sad looking. I immediately watered it hoping it would survive, but even the next day it still looked kind of droopy. Lesson learned – even the weeds in our life serve a purpose.

Saving the Swiss Chard

So I went off to the Co-op to get some boxes and apply what I learned about no-till gardening in a course I attended earlier this summer at the Omega Institute in NY. In this wonderful weekend course, called Grow Food Everywhere, instructors Deb Habib and Ricky Baruc of Seeds of Solidarity – http://www.seedsofsolidarity.org/index.html guided us through a process that involves covering an area with cardboard, adding several inches of compost, planting the plants, and ending with a layer of straw or hay mulch. The beauty of this method is that the cardboard, hay and compost will enrich the soil, and help break down the weeds and grass that were growing underneath.

Swiss Chard Before and After Mulching

So I carefully arranged cardboard around the wilted chard, hosed it down thoroughly, and then layered on some mulch that I had instead of the straw. I didn’t need to add the compost because I had done that last year and the soil in the garden was still quite rich.

My chard is happy now.  My garden is happy now. And I am happy now with my garden of weedin’.

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Marilyn Chiarello, founder of A Taste of Light, is a certified raw veganchef,educator and health coach. She offers a variety of services including health coaching, classes, dinner parties, consultations and presentations. For more information, visit aTasteofLight.com or contact her directly – Marilyn@aTasteofLight.com or 516-671-7037.

If you would like to receive more recipes and a monthly newsletter including articles about health and the environment, event updates and more, please submit your email address by clicking on the link in the sign-up box at the top of the right sidebar. For notification of blog updates only, you may subscribe directly or via RSS. You may unsubscribe at any time.


Filed under: Environment,Garden,Peace — Marilyn @ 7:12 pm

August 10, 2010

My Garden of Weedin’

I have a house in Brattleboro, Vermont. I rent out two of the rooms to graduate students, and keep a room for myself. Last summer, my tenants and I planted a garden and had an abundant harvest throughout the summer and well into the late fall. I recall going there late in November, and finding kale and collards peeking through a foot of snow, still thriving, ready to be picked.

My Garden Last Year

July 4, 2009

Weeding the garden always seemed to be my job, and whenever I was in Vermont, I’d spend several hours in the garden enjoying the bounty and, of course, weeding. Fortunately there was sufficient rainfall last summer that it didn’t matter that my attempts to hook up an irrigation system failed. The garden thrived anyway.

This year everything was different. Things got in the way. I wasn’t able to clear my cluttered calendar to spend time in Vermont at all except for couple of days during Memorial Day weekend. I purchased some seedlings at the Brattleboro Farmer’s Market and planted them among some of the tomatoes and basil my tenants had planted.

Eight weeks later I returned for a weekend. When I saw my garden for the first time in almost 2 months, I was aghast! The weeds had grown to new heights, surpassed only by a few sunflowers that emerged from seeds dispersed last year. All I could see were the weeds… unwanted, invasive, overwhelming.

My Garden One Year Later

July 22, 2010

I was paralyzed. I resisted. I couldn’t imagine how much time and effort it would take to clear the weeds. I couldn’t even recognize the beauty of nature’s life force.

After lamenting about my negligence, about the drought, and about the hardiness of the weeds in the hot dry summer, I realized that I needed an attitude adjustment. It was time to embrace the weeds.

I went back to examine my garden. Making my way through my backyard jungle, I discovered some gems in the weed clutter – lettuce, Swiss chard, tomatoes, basil, leeks, kale – that not only survived but were thriving in spite of the neglect.

So I sat down in the delicious breeze and rested my eyes on my Garden of Weedin’. It actually started to look beautiful as I released the resistance, inner conflict and guilt, and began to embrace the weeds. With this attitude adjustment, I began to see the weeds as a metaphor for my own need for finding clarity amid my internal clutter and resistance.

Sometimes all it takes to make the weeds in our lives more tolerable is acceptance. By accepting their existence and embracing their life force, we can then release the resistance and no longer feel paralyzed by their presence.

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Marilyn Chiarello, founder of A Taste of Light, is a certified raw vegan chef,educator and health coach. She offers a variety of services including health coaching, classes, dinner parties, consultations and presentations. For more information, visit aTasteofLight.com or contact her directly – Marilyn@aTasteofLight.com or 516-671-7037.

 

If you would like to receive more recipes and a monthly newsletter including articles about health and the environment, event updates and more, please submit your email address by clicking on the link in the sign-up box at the top of the right sidebar. For notification of blog updates only, you may subscribe directly or via RSS. You may unsubscribe at any time.

 


Filed under: Environment,Garden,Peace — Marilyn @ 11:56 pm

August 4, 2010

Finally… A TV Program that’s REALLY about Food!

OK. I admit it. I watch the Food Network from time to time, and am kind of hooked on the program, Chopped, a three-round elimination competition among 4 chefs who prepare 3 courses using ingredients provided in a mystery basket. I never seen a basket that had all vegan ingredients (except an occasional dessert basket). I wish there was a vegan version of this show… better yet, a RAW vegan version.

Unfortunately, most television shows about food focus  on competition between chefs, recipes for less than healthy meals, and/or food that comes from a plant (as in industrial plant, not the green kind). There was one recent exception, however. Food Revolution, which aired on prime time network TV, featured the work of Jamie Oliver, a British chef and recipient of a TED award. His project was to take on the school lunch program in Huntington, West Virginia, cited as the unhealthiest town in the US.  But the show was aired only for a few weeks, and I wonder if there will be any follow up to the work that he did.

Well, I just learned about a new 13-part documentary series that is in the making, called,  “Food Forward.” As described on the program website,

“Food Forward goes beyond celebrity chefs, cooking competitions, and recipes to reveal the compelling stories and inspired solutions envisioned by food heroes across America who are striving to create a more just, sustainable and delicious alternative to what we eat and how we produce it.”

The following video clip below is a segment from an episode on biodynamic agriculture featuring innovative chef David Kinch:

The creators of this documentary series are currently working hard to raise $125,000 to shoot their pilot episode. KQED in San Francisco has agreed to present Food Forward nationally on PBS upon successful completion of the pilot episode, which features urban agriculture in America.

Here is a trailer for the series:

For more information about this project or to donate to the completion of the pilot, please visit the Food Forward website.

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Marilyn Chiarello, founder of A Taste of Light, is a certified raw vegan chef, educator and health coach. She offers a variety of services including health coaching, classes, dinner parties, consultations and presentations. For more information, visit aTasteofLight.com or contact her directly – Marilyn@aTasteofLight.com or 516-671-7037.

If you would like to receive more recipes and a monthly newsletter including articles about health and the environment, event updates and more, please submit your email address by clicking on the link in the sign-up box at the top of the right sidebar. For notification of blog updates only, you may subscribe directly or via RSS. You may unsubscribe at any time.


Filed under: Environment,Garden,Health,Nutrition — Marilyn @ 7:48 pm

July 28, 2010

Marilyn’s Marinara Sauce

original recipe from A Taste of Light

3 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in water for 60 minutes and drained
1 Tbs. finely minced onion

1-2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 tsp. Himalayan or Celtic sea salt
1 1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning

Pinch freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil (optional)

  1. Place the tomatoes in a colander and allow any liquid to drain. (Drink the juice or add it to another recipe.) When the tomatoes are thoroughly drained, transfer them to a food processor fitted with the S blade and pulse to process until slightly chunky.
  2. Add the soaked and drained sun-dried tomatoes, minced onion, crushed garlic,Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Pulse to combine.
  3. Allow the sauce to sit for 10 minutes before serving to allow it to thicken. Drain off excess liquid, if any.
  4. Stored in a tightly sealed glass jar in the refrigerator, Tomato Sauce will keep for up to 3 days.
  5.  

     

Serve over spiral cut zucchini – you will need a spiral slicer for that, or create fettuccine style noodles with a vegetable slicer. Just keep rotating the zucchini to get narrow “noodles.” Delish!

 


Filed under: Garden,Raw Food,Recipes — Marilyn @ 4:18 pm

July 5, 2010

Happy INTERdependence Day!

What an inspiring weekend!

I just returned from 3 days at the Omega Institute in NY, where I attended a workshop called, “Grow Food Everywhere.” The workshop leaders, Deb Habib and Ricky Baruc, shared their love and passion for growing food, and touched the hearts of each of the 29 participants with their light. They are truly an model for living your truth and enlightening others. This coming weekend, July 9-11, 2010, they are offering a similar workshop, Earth and Spirit Retreat for Adults. For details of this and other events on their calendar, visit the Seeds of Solidarity website.

So what is INTERdependence Day? Well, for me, this weekend reinforced the fact that we are all connected and thus interdependent. Building community around creating a garden brought 29 individuals together in a way that was so powerful, and it will likely have a ripple effect in our communities.

We experience interdependence in many ways daily. Consider the effect of a well timed smile or kind remark when someone is having an angry outburst. Or consider the effects of introducing a non-native plant that produces a beautiful flower and has medicinal uses, but ends up being invasive and destructive to native plants. Or consider the global effect of encouraging consumption and debt to the point of economic collapse. Or consider the effect of our oil addiction, leading to risky offshore drilling practices that are affecting countless creatures and habitats.

These are just several examples of connectedness and interdependence. We all need be mindful of everything we do and how our actions may affect others, our environment, our lives.

The whole idea of compassion is based on a keen awareness of the interdependence of all these living beings, which are all part of one another, and all involved in one another. ~Thomas Merton

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Marilyn Chiarello, founder of A Taste of Light, is a certified raw vegan chef, educator and health coach. She offers a variety of services including health coaching, classes, dinner parties,consultations and presentations. For more information, visit aTasteofLight.com or contact her directly- Marilyn@aTasteofLight.com or 516-671-7037.

If you would like to receive future articles about health and the environment, along with recipes, event updates and more, please visit http://atasteoflight.com/.The sign-up box is in the right sidebar.


Filed under: Environment,Garden — Marilyn @ 4:18 am

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