To Cook or Not to Cook?

Raw food is a great fit for the summer, and the 4th of July was definitely a hot one..., a Pitta day amidst the Pitta season of summer. We opted for a "fresh Mex" theme, fully equipped with all the colors of the rainbow from plate to palette. Just look at this photo! Purple, red, orange, yellow, green, white... YUM! Coupled with a fresh spearmint tea, our Ayurvedic 4th of July meal can be a hit for any hot summer day.

First, here are some tips to soothe the "fire" that can get a little too hot in the summer months: In Ayurveda, we call this Pitta, and we can modulate this fire by:

* Avoiding excessive heat (that's temperature or spice)
* Avoid excessive oil (oil increases fire getting out of control)
* Avoid excessive steam (
* Limit salt intake
* Limit sour foods (even lime or lemon can exacerbate Pitta)
* Eat cooling, non-spicy foods

Here's how to make a raw, fresh, meal of it:

Generally speaking, travel to your local farmer's market and shop with color in mind: select green, red, orange, yellow, and purple vegetables. Chop, slice and dice into small or thin pieces and display in colorful arrangements on your serving plates. Fantastic makes a nice vegetarian taco meat, to make this into a true veggie feast. Beans of all sorts, with ample cilantro, fresh guacamole and salsa will make for a marvelous meal.

Specifically, here's what I did:

Carrots: thinly sliced
Red, orange, and yellow peppers: thinly sliced (in long slices)
Purple cabbage: shredded
Grape tomatoes: cut in half
Green onions: thinly sliced

Black beans: from a can, low sodium and doctored up with a little olive oil, minced garlic, smidgen of lime and a whole lot of cilantro

Queso Seca (mexican white cheese that is a bit crumbly and adds a bright white color and traditional flair)

Salad greens: tossed lightly with a fresh vinegrette of 2 parts olive oil, 1 part balsamic, 1 clove garlic, and agave, salt and pepper to taste

Garnished with sour cream, guacamole (with extra avocado), salsa (with extra chopped tomatoes and cilantro to "freshen it up"

Served on spelt tortillas with Fantastic brand vegetarian taco meat (comes in a box, is simple to prepare, and adds a nice "Mex" flavor to the veggies)

To drink? I made spearmint sun tea by taking four long stems of spearmint leaves and placing them into a recycled, clear glass, milk bottle out in the sun. The tea turns a light amber when it's ready. Chill and drink.

Simple, yummy, and a perfect raw option for Pitta types on a hot summer day.