I'm sad to say that I fell off the sometimes raw, mostly vegetarian wagon at the end of last year. I was tempted and gave in, to the christmas cakes, roast chicken and ham that form the normal trappings of Christmas. I'm sorry that I caved in to my cravings but I have the opportunity to start again and do a better job this year. I started by working on cleansing the body after the food binge that was Christmas. I went back to my aloe vera/grapefruit detox juice & aimed for simpler foods; fresh fruits and vegetables as much as possible. It takes some work to be healthy and green so if it's one of your resolutions I hope you're prepared to put in the time.
It has been a bit of a challenge to find some foods as the agricultural scene has not fully recovered from the ravages of Hurricane Sandy. Banana plants were devastated and have not come back as yet. If you do find any the price is much higher than usual. I've been trying to tell myself that this is the perfect opportunity to wean myself from ripe bananas ( I eat way too many ) and I've read that you should give up the foods that you eat all the time if you're doing a detox or have issues such as allergies or food intolerances.
Papayas (pawpaws) were also affected by the Hurricane and have been scarce & very small in size for a while. They are beginning to come back but I have been in search of what I call 'original' papayas, those really large ones that a family could share rather than the 'single serve cutesy ones' such as 'Martha's Best' that only appeared in recent years. You can occasionally find them in the market from a few vendors. I use to think they were just big and tasteless but I've had some that were quite sweet and I've developed a whole new appreciation; I'm even trying to plant a few. I've learnt to look beyond the sometimes mis-shapen fruit to the sweet fruit under the skin to the point where I'm almost eating the skin to get every last drop and it still tastes sweet. Maybe it's edible, who knows? Usually I just have a half of one by itself or with a banana or two for breakfast. Other times I chop it up with some ground oats and flax seeds and have it like an uncooked porridge. You could also add a banana and some raisins or dates for sweetness if you wanted but usually it's not necessary unless you get a really bland fruit.
Locally grown tomatoes were also in short supply, but have been coming back at the Coronation Market and the high prices have begun to trend down, thankfully. I've come across a few tomato based recipes that I want to experiment with and the one pound of tomatoes that I allowed myself at the market recently (because of the price) just would not do.
The pear (avocado) season has basically come to an end, so there goes one healthy food that I really enjoy.
The only ones still available are what's called the 'agricultural' ones. I'm a little wary about the quality this late in the season sometimes and of course the prices tend to be higher but I'm willing to chance it until all the pears have totally disappeared.
I've begun to see otaheite apples as well as my beloved mangoes, but make sure they're fit before buying. It's actually best to wait until they're plentiful to ensure fit fruit, but some of us are too impatient and are disappointed when we get home and realize that they were picked too early. I did get some nice apples at the market this past week and in order to keep them a little longer I cut up some and put them in a mason jar with orange and grapefruit juice. They were quite lovely.
( Let me know if you're looking for mason jars in Kingston )
To add insult to injury, we're in a period of drought so some foodstuff are suffering from a lack of water. Cucumbers have been affected and are much smaller in size in some cases or just plain unhealthy looking. One vegetable that seems to be holding its' own is the carrot. It's still plentiful and fairly inexpensive. I've come up with a new way to utilize carrots in order to get more fiber into my diet. If you have one of those small home juicers that does not squeeze out all the juice, this is an excellent way to use the pulp if you juice a lot of carrots. If not you can just grate some. Blend grated carrot or pulp with orange, tangerine or grapefruit pegs and/or juice, then eat with a spoon and enjoy your 'fiber rich fruit salad'. Other fruits can be added after blending as well, such as chopped up bananas, papayas or whatever fruits you like. As different ones appear as the year progresses make sure that you enjoy your local in-season fruits.
Utilize grey water ( water generated from domestic activities such as laundry, dishwashing and bathing ) in your backyard garden especially as the drought worsens and we have water restrictions. You could also set some containers to catch any rain that might fall, like it did the last two days, after many dry days. The weatherman predicts more for this week; prepare so you have extra water for your plants or general cleaning.