I apologize, I can’t look at this book without singing the Electric Avenue tune in my head.
Organic Avenue: Recipes for Life, Made With LOVE* by Denise Mari, is a fun read. At least as fun as one thinks a raw, vegan, organic, all natural, guru-fied book could be. I was initially suspicious. It recommends cleanses. I don’t believe in cleanses. I think the body was designed to be in constant motion and there is no reason to give your stomach and digestive system a day off.
However, Mari’s cleanses looked acceptable enough because they are not fasts. Some even just appear to be super-duper healthy meal plans. I would consider doing the one with solid food if I could just double the portions. I need a lot more food than is provided in her various levels of cleanse, but the recipes are intriguing, and filled with so much health one might start sprouting branches.
Mari calls the philosophy behind Organic Avenue “LOVE*.” Yes, with the star. I agree with the philosophy, if not the branding of the word. “LOVE*” stands for Live Organic Vegan Experience, the details of which she covers in-depth right from the beginning. She is into raw, she is into non-GMO, into organic, into local, basically you’d need to have your own farm to eat that way all the time.
Fortunately, “LOVE*” is greater than the sum of its parts. Because it is about love. She stresses that “LOVE*” is way of life. It’s about loving yourself, and doing no harm to others. Cleanse or no cleanse, loving yourself is something I can get behind. She says to go ahead and make compromises. Do not beat yourself up for what you do and don’t eat.
One of the compromises she talks about is eating raw. She recommends 80% raw, 20% “consciously cooked”. Mari is also a big proponent of alkalizing your body. The body is supposed to be at a 7.365 pH level, which is slightly alkaline, and a lot of things we eat mess with that. She claims that staying alkaline=good. Again, I’m not a scientist and always a skeptic. I’m just reporting what Mari says.
After all this talk about how to eat, Organic Avenue finally delves into the recipes. There are a lot of juices, which I didn’t make, not owning a juicer. But there are also tonics, smoothies, and mylks (the y means it’s milk made of nuts—who knew?) that one could make with a blender. I started lusting after a Vitamix, but seeing as that jet engine of a machine is out of my budget, I made my immersion blender work. Have I mentioned that an immersion blender is probably THE most useful kitchen gadget there is? Because it is. Unless you have a Vitamix in which case you are probably solving world peace with smoothies.
After the beverages, Mari gets into your regular soups, salads, entrees and so on. They all have very cute names like Power Pom, Ginger Gem, and Fanciful Falafel. I’m down. Where there is alliteration there is joy.
I decided to share one of the recipes for a tonic. The tonics are sort of like juices but they are blended and strained. I’ve been loving powdered turmeric of late, and was excited to experiment with raw turmeric root. It is a vibrant orangey color. It is pungent. I used to hate it for about a minute then I got hooked. So I give you the Truth Tonic. It sounds unlikely but I found it disturbingly delicious.
Truth Tonic based on recipe found in Organic Avenue by Denise Mari
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 lemon, peeled and seeded
- 1 inch of fresh turmeric (so beautiful), chopped in a few pieces
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar (I hate coconut but this didn’t taste like coconut!)
- pinch of ground cayenne
- pinch of salt (I used sea salt)
Put it in a blender, or a deep narrow bowl or cup. (My pyrex measuring cup works perfectly.) If you are using your magical immersion blender, then blend, blend, blend until smooth. Then strain through a fine mesh strainer, pressing on the solid stuff to squeeze as much liquid out as possible. I actually put a cheesecloth in my strainer to help with this. Serve straight up, over ice, chilled or room temp. It’s a glass of gold.