Friday, September 19, 2008

Happy Meal for Thursday's Healing Seminar

One thing that is important to me as a chef is to have food that is beautiful to look at, in addition to being tasty. If something is supposedly "healthy" but is brown and unidentifiable, I don't believe that someone will feel good when they eat it. For example, sometimes, if I'm in a hurry, I will go into one of our local health food stores to see what they have in their deli. At times, what they have appears overcooked and definitely not fresh. I just know that if I eat that, even though it's from the health food store, I'm going to feel tired and sluggish. Here in Hawaii, they teach people to "Eat A Rainbow" and I believe in this philosophy. So, here is the menu for the "Happy Meal" we had last night for Dr. Terry Shintani's Healing Seminar:

Brown Rice with Wild Rice
Spring Green Salad with Tomatoes and Yellow Peppers
Poppyseed Dressing
Marinated Garbanzo Bean Salad (packed with healthy fresh vegetables)
Sweet Vegetable Soup (with corn, kabocha, carrots, and onions)

We actually had all the colors of the rainbow included in this meal.

For the soup, it wasn't necessary to use any type of pre-purchased or packaged seasoning. I looked in the refrigerator to see what was left over and needed to be used up. I found cabbage, onion, and carrot and cooked these until they were soft, along with some kombu sea vegetable to create a tasty broth. I strained out the vegetables, reserved the liquid, and created this as the base. Then, to create the soup, I used chopped carrots, corn, onion, kabocha, bayleaf, and more kombu, along with fresh water. At the end, I added salt to taste so that the naturally sweet flavor of the vegetables was enhanced.

Menu for Wednesday's client

Everything on this menu was vegan, and the sister and boyfriend who were uncertain of the idea of VEGAN and MACRO food were very pleasantly surprised! We said it was "Real food for real people."

Greek Salad with Tofu Feta
Spanikopita (spinach pie with tofu instead of cheese)
Falafel with Pita Bread
Tahini Sauce
Grape Leaves stuffed with Brown Rice, Currants, and Pinenuts
Strawberry Mousse

It was the mousse for dessert that had our male friend there going for second and third helpings. They couldn't believe it was so yummy.

Menu for a recent party

One of my clients had a very serious health condition that kept her in the hospital for weeks. After getting out of the hospital, she firmly committed herself even more to her health by doing yoga and pranayama, ending toxic relationships, playing golf to keep active, and keeping up a very healthy whole foods macrobiotic diet. She just made 1 year of strong health, which is getting better all the time, and she had a party to celebrate this. The menu was:

Chinese Cabbage and Celery Soup
Watercress Salad with Figs and Artichoke Hearts
Balsamic Vinaigrette
Oven-Baked Acorn Squash
Holiday Brown Rice, Wild Rice, and Vegetable Pilaf
Lentil Pate
Arame Sea Vegetable Salad
Carrot Cardamom Cake with Coconut Cream Sauce

10-day Healing Seminar

Every couple of months, Dr. Terry Shintani (author of The Good Carb Revolution and Eat More, Weight Less) does a Healing Seminar for people in Honolulu, Hawaii. Approximately 30 people typically register for each program. They show up on a Saturday, the first day of their program, for a 12-hour long day of cooking demonstrations, lectures, chi gong, and whole foods meals. Since they have medical conditions, they are all medically monitored. The next 9 days of the program are not quite as intense, but they do have more lectures and we consistently prepare meals for them. For the most part, these people have been eating a standard American diet for their entire lives, and in many cases, it shows. Seminar after seminar, the participants are dealing with obesity, auto-immune disorders, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, arthritis, and diabetes, including other lifestyle related diseases. They somewhat go into shock with everything they are being taught, and despite this, they are courageous and persevere, but not without some humor (where's the pizza? where's the salt, sugar, pork, shrimp, beef?!!). They were all very curious about what quinoa was. Why did it have those snake-like tails in it? What was it? HOW DO YOU SAY THAT AGAIN? HOW IS IT SPELLED!!!! Last night when I cooked for them, they were on day 5 of their program, and some of them had already lost 10 pounds, their blood sugar levels dropped by half. They were starting to come around, and their taste buds actually coming back to life after years of being bombarded with overdoses of sugar, salt, and other additives. By the end of the 10 days, for many of them, their lives have been altered forever, equipped with the knowledge of how to prevent many common illnesses and to maintain strong health with the power of food.