Healthy Eating–Chicago’s Raw Food Network

I love McDonald’s – and I’m not just saying that because they pay my salary. The filet-o-fish, with a small fry and water is my usual choice, but sometimes I branch out and get a cheeseburger (no pickles, no onions) or Chicken Selects or the Crispy Chicken Club sandwich… or (gasp) a McRib when they are available. I have always been a fast food junkie (see pics below for evidence of my early love affair with Ronald McDonald) and realistically, deep down inside, I believe I always will be.

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That being said… my love for eating out and my distaste for working out, means I have to focus on one very important word – BALANCE. That’s right. I am one of those “eat what I want” people. But now that I’m 30 and my metabolism is about 75, when I eat out, I aim for smaller portions of fried (yummy), creamy (heavenly) and high fat foods (more fat usually tastes better)… and then I balance them with larger portions  and more frequent “meal swaps” with entrees and snacks that are of fruits and vegetables.

This year I decided to kick it up a notch and learn about Raw Food diets. No, I’m not leaving the work of meat and heat… but I was interested in learning more about food options and their benefits. So I went to Chicago’s guru of raw foods – Karyn Calabrese. Karyn owns 3 restaurants in Chicago, one of which is the city’s first raw food restaurant. You heard me. A menu full of uncooked items that will trick even the smartest of foodies. Poor Bobby took me to Karyn’s Raw Café for lunch, not believing me when I said there is no cooking – as the menu sounds like any normal boutique restaurant in the city. I ordered the “Ravioli” and he ordered the “House Salad”.

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Basil Scented Ravioli

Half moon shells (turnips) filled with macadamia whipped crème dressed with an Italian olive marinara sauce $14

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Karyn’s Famous House Salad

Shredded Cabbage, Hearts of romaine, red onion, shiitake mushrooms, asparagus sunflower sprouts, candied walnuts, and teardrop tomatoes caesar dressing on the side $12

 

The flavors were interesting. In some ways its all tasted like “salad”, just varying types of salad.  Overall it was good (though quite pricey) and we could “feel the benefits” as our stomachs digested all the healthy veggies shortly after.

We went on a Saturday afternoon and the atmosphere was nice and calm and the presentation was very pretty. We stayed after our lunch for a 2.5 hour presentation by Karyn herself on her lifestyle as a Raw Foodist/Vegan/Entrepreneur. It was interesting to say the least. We were able to try a few food items, and I’d just say, I’m not converted and only liked 3 of the 6 items. While those three items were really good, when we left, I was starving and begging for a carb. Bobby wouldn’t satisfy my requests to stop and grab a Big Mac, he felt it was too soon after we had educated ourselves, so we went by his spot and made some of the healthiest tacos you’ve ever seen. I’m definitely interested in checking this place out again, but it seems like I might have to save up, cause that lifestyle is NOT CHEAP!

My item of the day, since we’re talking about food, is the Cuisinart Pressure Cooker. I can hear you know… “What the heck is that???” (Ok, if you’re not saying it I am). I have no idea what this thing does but it looks AWESOME. The geek in me wants this on my kitchen counter now. I have never cooked most of the things it claims to be perfect for (gnocchi, pot roast, short ribs) but I bet if I had one I’d be a roast queen in no time!

cuisineart pressure cooker

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