Friday, February 29, 2008

Oh No! Not Health Food!!!

Cleaning Out Old Files...I Came Across This Experience
From a Few Years Back

A friend of mine called this past month suggesting we get together for lunch. I thought great! This is just what I needed. It would be nice to get out, take a break from work and share a good meal with a wonderful friend. In the next breath, she said, “Let’s meet at Arnold’s Way”. My heart sank as visions of boring, dull, tasteless food danced in my head. I mustered up a “Sure, sounds good!” with the most enthusiastic response that I could get out. .

Now don’t get me wrong, I had heard a lot of wonderful things about Arnold’s Way, a raw foods café in Lansdale, PA, but mostly from people who found there way there due to a major health challenge and who were looking to make nutritional changes in their diet to help them through the healing process. I even met Arnold when he stopped by our table at the Holistic Health Fair in Jamison a few months back and was planning on making a stop there at some point in time to check it out…not for myself of course, but to see what he had to offer that would be beneficial to clients I work with.

All the way there I was feeling disappointed about the luncheon choice I agreed to, basing this on some previous experiences I have had with health food, wondering what strange ingredients I would have to wolf down. Could I do so without making an embarrassing scene gagging? Was there going to be all these quirky type health food nuts sitting around talking doom and gloom stories about people who eat the dreaded protein packed diets?

In my head everything was tofu laced (a food that I just can’t seem to get a liking for, even when my brother who is a gourmet chef, creates what looks like a very appealing tofu dish). To my surprise, once we arrived at Arnold’s I loved the look and feel of the small, intriguing café. There were all sorts of people crowded in there milling around, and they looked as normal as anyone. The store was filled with a wealth of information and healthy products. Hmm, maybe this won’t be as painful as I thought! I could easily distract myself by checking out all the interesting things in the store.

We sat down at a table, and a very pleasant young man came over to give us menus and see if we wanted something to drink. It was a cold day so I asked what kind of herbal teas they had (I figured I wouldn’t make the faux pas of asking for coffee, I was smarter than that). The waiter, with a twinkle in his eye, said “we don’t have herbal teas”, by the look on his face I quickly came to realize when it says Raw Food Café, it means nothing is cooked or heated, not even the beverages. So much for avoiding the faux pas!

I don’t remember what the name of the item was that I ordered, I just followed my friend’s recommendation. I think it was called Sally’s something or other. When this dish came out, I was impressed by how pretty it looked on the plate, and was even more taken back by how delicious it tasted. It contained cut up red pepper, onions, zucchini, other veggies that I can’t recall right now, avocado, green olives, nuts and Arnold’s homemade burger chopped up (don’t know what’s in it but it isn’t meat) served over a bed of spring mix greens. I was hooked!

Our visit to the raw foods café involved a lively discussion with Arnold and a few others and ended up being more than I could ever have imagined in my wildest speculations. Since that visit a little over 3 weeks ago, here at the Anderson house, we have moved into a healthier, more nutritional approach to our diet. We are moving toward vegetarianism gradually, and incorporating raw foods into our diet daily.
My body type needs heat and warmth, so I know that a total raw foods diet would not work for me personally, but we have moved from a 75% take-out diet to about a 90% home prepared meals program that incorporates mostly vegetables, grains. beans and fruits, with an occasional piece of organic chicken or fish.

I gauge how well we are doing by how often I need to empty my compost bucket…rather than a once a week routine, it has become a daily one. My kids are not completely sold on this approach so I am taking it at a slower pace with them, but the one thing I have got them hooked on is Arnold’s Green Smoothie which they have every day. (recipe below.)
Since we have made these changes, I am feeling more energetic, less stressed and my complexion has improved. I have listed the link for Arnold’s Way under the website recommendations section. If you have never been to Arnold’s, I would encourage you to drop by and find out about this jewel of a café in our local area, you just might be as pleasantly surprised as I was! Or if you have a close friend or loved one that is dealing with a health challenge, this should be one of the places on the top of their list to research. If you do stop by, drop us a line with some feedback about what you think. If you know of any other restaurants/cafes in the local area that you would recommend, send us in a review. - Susan

Green Smoothie
2 oz dates
4 oz dark leafy green vegetables
1 apple cut up
2 frozen bananas
10 oz. water
ice cubes
Place all ingredients in a regular blender, blend up and enjoy! I also boost our drink with powdered super greens.

Arnold recommends that you drink these smoothies 2 times a day.

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