Marlie Centawer - of Barefoot and Frolicking - is back guest blogging with us again. I love all her recipes. She's such a joy and a calm sweet soul. Weird how those traits can be felt via the internet but they can, I swear! Anybody else feel this way? Anyways, welcome Marlie and thanks for sharing one of your newest, loveliest creations with us this week: Creamy Kelp Noodles! Plus she shares with us her journey to a healthy clean diet and lifestyle.
Hi everyone, I’m Marlie from Barefoot and Frolicking! I’m honoured that Juli asked me to contribute a post about my health journey on PureMamas. In the past little while, I’ve been reflecting on and exploring my journey with health; I’m always inspired by others who share their personal journey with health, and I’m excited to do the same.
For as long as I can remember, my life has been intertwined with health and healing. Growing up, I didn’t have a heightened awareness about what foods were good for me – it was the 1980s, and it seemed that pre-packaged foods were the standard norm. I have many memories of being surrounded by pre-packaged foods with neon packaging for school lunches and have little to no memories of eating fresh foods. I was drawn to products that were promoted around me (pop, chips, et al) and ate a high carbohydrate, high fat diet (lots of refined carbohydrates, breads, eggs, and dairy).
As a result, my health suffered; I grew up with constant ear infections and soon learned I had allergies to dairy, corn, eggs, wheat, you name it. In other words, my health was in many ways the complete opposite of where it is at today. Yet, I would consider my family quite healthy; we always had a vegetable garden growing and made healthy choices for our meals.
When I reached my early teens, I started to become more conscious and aware of my surroundings and food choices, making the link between how I was feeling to what I was eating. It was during my early teens (when I was 11) that I decided to become a vegetarian. I also went to a naturopath around this time and realized I needed to improve my health to alleviate symptoms of illness (I had constant colds and strep throat infections).
My curiosity for raw foods was first instigated by a few seeds of higher vibrational living around me: I had a health-conscious aunt and took me to my first health food store where I first encountered raw trail mixes and gluten free health cookies. My dad was also interested in health foods, and I have fond memories of making carrot-apple juice with him from time to time and it was the freshest juice I had ever tasted. One summer he even ate a high fruit diet (nothing but fruit all day until dinnertime) as a way of cleansing.
I started to read more books about health and nutrition, making vital connections between a healthy lifestyle and ‘feeling good’ inside and out.
Green smoothies became my daily breakfast, lots of green and fresh salads my lunch, and I started to see tremendous results; my energy levels soared, my skin became clearer, and my digestion improved. I started to feel more in tune and connected with my self and my body as well.
As I became more interested in fresh organic foods I started to learn about superfoods as a compliment to an already thriving plant-based diet. I soon discovered that superfoods such as chia and hemp seeds, spirulina, chlorella, chaga, and sea vegetables were additional nutrition sources that improved my feeling of well-being. I also discovered that there is such a thing as healthy dessert, with the multitudes of dessert recipes just waiting to be made (and eaten, in moderation of course).
Now, I feel best when I eat and maintain a diet full of raw fruits and veggies, and advocate the importance that fresh, living foods have for our optimal health and vitality. With every passing day, I'm learning how important it is to listen intuitively to the body, which can mean making changes and modifications to one's health practices.
Plant-based vegan foods have helped to heal years of poor eating choices, revitalizing and renourishing my cells. Clean eating resonates very well with me. Over the years, I’ve realized there is a time and place for different levels of this lifestyle (for example, I thrive on a high raw vegan diet in the warmer months, but incorporate warmer, cooked foods in the winter).
I am also a firm believer that what may work for some might not work for all; health is an individual experience and we all have different constitutions and doshas (an ayurvedic principle). Figuring out what works best for you, while also incorporating fresh, healthy foods (and whenever possible – organic) into your diet, will help prepare you for a grand outlook towards life. Life, and our health, is an ongoing journey, so be prepared for the pitfalls and possibilities, the perils and the promise, and be open to the exploration of your self.
This recipe for Creamy Kelp Noodles is a variation on my all-time favourite recipe for raw vegan pad thai. It’s also a great transitional recipe for anyone becoming more interested in raw foods; kelp noodles are a great substitute for conventional pasta noodles and are a heartier option for lunch or dinner. You can also incorporate any veggies you wish (I used chopped swiss chard and cucumber).
The creamy almond sauce also features tamarind, which is a pod-like fruit known as the "Indian date." The pulp is edible and has hints of a somewhat sweet and sour tone. It is used mostly in savoury dishes in many cuisine traditions from different cultures. feel free to substitute dates for tamarind if unavailable.
Creamy Kelp Noodles
Creamy Almond Sauce
½ cup almonds, soaked for at least a few hours
½ cup water
2 tablespoon melted coconut oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon freshly minced ginger
½ clove garlic
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tamarind pod, peeled and de-seeded
salt to taste
1 package kelp noodles
Soak 1 packages of kelp noodles for at least an hour in warm water. Drain. Blend the first nine ingredients in a blender, and add to noodles, making sure to mix the dressing with the noodles until well-integrated (i.e. massaging the dressing into the noodles with clean hands). Add chopped vegetables and serve immediately or let the dish 'set' overnight in the fridge (the noodles will become softer once the dressing incorporates for some time). Eat with chopsticks for extra flair.
Marlie Centawer is a Certified Yoga Instructor, holistic chef, scholar, artist, writer and health activist passionate about sharing the creative potentials of plant-based cuisine through education. Her particular interests include the relationship between yoga and nutrition for nourishing the mind, body, and spirit.