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Turning green eats into creative, tasty, mindful eating

“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” Last year I decided to put this idea to the test and get busy in the kitchen. By no means did I feel that I had to win my husband’s affection—the reason behind the kitchen chemistry was to discover how you make healthy food taste good, really good. The incentive was real and frightening. Still in the honeymoon period of our marriage, only a few weeks after our first wedding anniversary, Andy was diagnosed with cancer. It was a shocking and unforgettable time. I felt so much pain for my best friend. I felt helpless and frustrated, as though I had no control over the situation. At that stage, I couldn’t remove the sadness or fear of the unknown, but if there was anything that I could do to help, even one percent, I was in.

The other love of my life is food. Now I don’t know about you, but munching on a celery stick or eating a diet of leaves doesn’t appeal all that much. When you are trying to make a positive change in life, whether it be a new exercise routine, taking some time out or changing your diet, it has to be enjoyable to be sustainable. So although Andy was willing to make some changes to give himself the best possible chance, I couldn’t help thinking that dishing up raw kale felt like I was somehow punishing the poor guy. And while broccoli sits on the throne of the anti-cancer kingdom, serving it as a juice to my husband could well have ended in some very mindful marriage counseling! Rumor has it, an organic, plant based, whole food diet is the key to being in tip-top shape. I always try to source local, seasonal ingredients to make sure I am doing my bit for the planet. Sure, some food products can be a little more expensive but we found that sacrificing a night out or two helped to balance the books. Plus, being more choosy about what we ate encouraged me to be more mindful than ever about how food travels from field to fridge. So as much as it was about looking after Andy and improving our health, it was also a time of reflection, on how the choices we make affect others, how what we eat impacts animal welfare and the environment around us. The diet was intense: strictly vegan, no processed sugar, alkaline foods only and buckets of fermented cabbage. It sounds extreme I know, but making the food palatable was so much easier and fun than I thought it would be.

The trick is to get creative and find the right look, texture and taste—luckily for me, I love this part. I never realized just how many ways you can reinvent nuts and plants. We’re so fortunate to be living in California. Sure, it’s a little wacky, but the vegan and raw culture here is positively blooming. Bars offering tequila shots are replaced with cafes serving turmeric shots. It’s not unusual here to see raw kelp noodles and kale chips on the menu or to find oneself snacking on almond butter protein balls with afternoon tea! A life changing diagnosis opened our minds up to a totally new approach to healthy eating and the food we eat now seems to taste better than it ever did. You may be shocked if I tell you that I rustled up a broccoli juice recently for Andy that he even asked for seconds! No green trees are going to get in the way of our marriage and I’m still allowed in the kitchen. So here we are almost one year later. Andy may be one testicle less but we now live a cancer free life. What’s more, I’m a mom-to-be. Turns out food really is the best way to a man’s heart, even if it’s green.

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The trick is to get creative and find the right look, texture and taste—luckily for me, I love this part.

Lucinda Puddicombe

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