Thursday, May 16, 2013

Smoothie Parfaits!!! + Some Heartfelt Words

Yes, that is my backyard. And yes, that is the aforementioned smoothie parfait I promised on my Facebook page ("aforementioned" meaning a couple minutes ago). I just couldn't resist! I had to post this now, being that it's such a simple recipe and yet has so much flavor bursting in every bite. How could I not share this? 

Ok, enough plant ranting (for now, that is) and let me explain the simplicity of this recipe. All I did was combine half of a large mango and eight cherries in my blender, and out came this fantastic smoothie-flavored "cream" that would work perfectly in a parfait. So I set to work and layered fresh blueberries, diced mango and cherries into the parfait glass, and got a gorgeous result:

Three ingredients + one blender + a little creativity and fun = a phenomenal, mouthwatering smoothie parfait. :)

I just love the pure, wholesome food that God created. It's the kind of food you can eat by itself straight off the plant and never need to throw a bunch of salt, pepper, and spices on it (those sure do taste delicious though, when you put them on the right matching foods). I have found this to be especially true with delicious sweet fruits - they taste like dessert! 

Ok, I just plant ranted again. As you can see, I'm in a rather plant-rant-y mood today. But this discussion will continue after I share the recipe:

Delicious Smoothie Parfait: Mango Cherry Berry!

Serves 2 (but you can eat both! *cackle*)

Smoothie Cream Ingredients:
* 1/2 large mango
* 8-10 pitted fresh cherries
Layering Ingredients:
* 1/2 large mango, diced
* 1-2 cups blueberries
* more pitted fresh cherries (use a lot!!)
To Assemble:
1) Blueberries.
2) Pour thin layer of smoothie cream over blueberries.
3) Mangoes, them pour smoothie cream over mangoes.
4) Top with cherries, then pour a dallop of the cream over those.
5) Garnish with remaining ingredients.
6) Bon apetit! Healthy eating has never been easier or tastier. ;)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

When I first titled my blog "Natalyn in the Raw", I felt eighty percent sure that I would eventually become a mostly raw vegan, or perhaps even a strict raw vegan (and am still wondering about it from time to time). At that time, that was the only reason I gave my blog that name. 
But over time, I have found more and more that the title of my blog has so much deeper meaning to me than before. I now see "Natalyn in the Raw" as a place not only for tasty recipes, fun tips, and random musings, but also a place for me to be honest - or "raw" - about my health, my struggles, and my achievements. I don't do this to look like I've got it together (because let's face it: I don't). I'm doing this because I want to show people out there that 99.9% of the time, transformation does NOT happen overnight. Weight loss, weight gain, clear skin, internal happiness, better vision, relieved aches and pains, both physically and mentally... these things don't just happen overnight. It takes time and effort to heal.
Another common misconception: "Why can't I stick to the _____ diet like _______? If ____ can do it, then that must mean I'm just not strong enough and don't have the willpower." I've personally struggled with this question, as I am very, VERY hard on myself. And from my experience, let me tell you something: Many of the people who you may admire for their health.. were not always that way. Each and every person has a story - a journey - that makes him/her who he/she is today. And many times, that journey took a long time. 
As for you not being "strong enough" or having enough "willpower"... lies. You are a strong, beautiful, and wonderfully made human being (don't believe me? Look in the mirror. Still not convinced. Try the Bible - Psalm 139:14). You make choices each and every day, and many of them are good choices. Instead of trying to take such large steps, make small, meaningful choices each day that will slowly get you to your goal. If you're like me and struggle doing "small choices", then focus on ONE facet of your health and put all of your energy on that. Example: Second quarter of my freshman year I completely dropped processed sugar from my diet, and it took me a while, but I did it because I decided that dropping sugar would become a priority for me. Sugary foods were a huge addiction for me, but I'm happy to say that after many rough weeks and months, here I am today processed-sugar free!! 
Ok, so let's talk about willpower. I don't know about you, but when I think of the kind of "willpower" we're tossing around in our sentences today, I immediately feel like a fat, harnessed pig that is clumsy and can't do anything right. What I'm trying to say is that our idea of willpower needs to be redefined right here right now: Willpower is the motivation one develops to execute an action - the more we feel it, the more we practice it. The more we practice it, the easier it will get. Why? Because we WANT it. 
So trust me, you will get willpower. Perhaps you are feeling empowered or motivated while reading this. Perhaps there may be a thought in your mind: "That's it. I'm making a change in my life because I'm sick of this. It's time to change." Well, congratulations. You are experiencing true willpower. The question you ask yourself should not be "why can't I do it?". Rather, it should be "How badly do I want this?" 

Anyway, just some advice I've lived through and wanted to share. I know what it's like to be sitting on my bum watching all these other people at their tip top shape and feeling like a failure. I know what it's like when you're following a diet and you somehow feel and look worse than before. I know what it's like to find a diet that works for you but makes you feel so different that you may as well live in another planet. 

So what's the point of all of my plant-ranting? Simply to share where I am right now in my health journey, but more importantly to let you know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. :)

Much love,

~ Natalyn 

P.S. Enjoy the parfait!!

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