Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Day Six

Today was cleaning day so we had to get ourselves out of the house while it was being scoured. I first suggested we go to a yoga class, but we didn't manage to get it together in time so I requested that we take a trip into Pasadena to do some shopping at the Whole Foods megastore on Arroyo Parkway. My husband, though not raw, vegan, or even vegetarian, is remarkably supportive, and readily agreed.

We had lunch there -- he and our daughter from the steam trays while I grabbed a meal from the raw foods case (Foodology's Raw Taquitos with Mango Salsa -- yum!). I wanted a bottle of water, but the simplest bottle I could find was something called "Electrolyte-Enhanced Water" -- honestly, I haven't a clue what that means. The ingredient list says it contains "water, electrolytes (potassium bicarbonate, calcium chloride, magnesium chloride)" but that still tells me nothing. Anyone care to enlighten me?

After lunch I loaded up on (mostly) organic veggies as well as with the raw food products I had learned about in some of my raw food books: raw tahini, raw carob powder, raw almond butter, Celtic sea salt, and nama shoyu (literal translation: raw soy sauce). To say, however that I learned about these products isn't entirely true: I'm still not sure, for example, why Celtic sea salt is the salt of choice among raw foodists -- I see it a lot but don't recall anyone explaining why. I'm assuming that Celtic sea salt is less processed than table salt and retains trace minerals of other things that might make it more nutrient dense. What I'm unclear about is why the Celtic version seems the universal choice when Whole Foods had an entire endcap of salt choices from every corner of the globe in every color (some were quite pretty!).

I'm also unclear about the distinction between Nama Shoyu and Bragg's Liquid Aminos: Some raw foods books say to use them interchangeably, while others mention only one of them. I've used Bragg's for decades ever since it was included in a cookbook put out by one of my favorite vegetarian restaurants, The Spot in Hermosa Beach. I never knew why "liquid aminos" were supposed to be good for me (Bragg's is generally sold only in health food stores), but I knew it tasted good -- pretty much like a weakened version of soy sauce. The odd thing is that even though when you take it straight it tastes like a weakened version of soy sauce, whenever I tried using watered down soy sauce in a recipe as a replacement, the result was never the same. Soy sauce always comes out tasting distinctly of soy sauce while Bragg's somehow works itself into a recipe and enriches the flavor without making it's presence dominant. So given the opportunity, I'd rather use Bragg's in most recipes than soy sauce, but is Bragg's raw, as its presence in raw foods books would seem to suggest, or isn't it?

In the car, my husband noted that by driving 25 miles to buy our groceries we were doing harm to the whole idea of "buying local" but our raw food resources around Pomona are pretty sparse. We have a Sprouts and a Trader Joe's in Claremont where I can buy organic produce (though a much slimmer selection than at Whole Foods) and a little shop (also in Claremont) called Ecoterra that sells a few raw products, but I knew they didn't have some of the things I needed. Still, when I can I'll try to use them or local farmer's markets to get most of my things.

Here's what I ate:

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