Every month, Spiritual Guidance and Plant Based Wellness Coach Jenna Davila answers your questions on physical and emotional health and wellbeing. If you have a question for Jenna’s next advice column, send it here.
Can you share some tips on how you keep all of your fruit and vegetables nice and fresh for the week and how you store it all? I wish I could buy that much and keep it fresh for a week!
– Nisha, Wales
Thank you for reaching out. I would love to help you learn how to keep your produce fresh all week long. If you are buying large quantities of fruit, I highly recommend buying a rack to store your fruit on. This way you can be organised and save a ton of counter space when storing your food. I also recommend inspecting and rotating your produce. Every day or other day, depending on the type of produce, check how your food is ripening or staying fresh. Place the produce that is older or the most ripe towards the front of your rack or refrigerator and the fresher produce towards the back. This way you can ensure that your food doesn’t go bad. Sometimes I like to put the older produce on the top or middle shelves of the rack or refrigerator and the fresher produce on the lower shelves. This way I know what needs to be eaten first. The fresher your produce is when you consume it, the more nutrients you will be getting into your body. Try playing around with these two methods to see which one works best for you. When storing berries on the other hand, you always want to store them on the top shelf in the refrigerator by the vent so they are getting cold air. Make sure nothing is covering your air vent so there is a good air flow in your refrigerator.
Another way to extend your produce shelf life is to wash and prepare it right before you are ready to consume it. Make sure you are eating your food at its maximum freshness. If you are peeling and chopping your food days in advance, it will start losing key nutrients and begin to decompose. If you suspect any of your fruit or vegetables are going bad or that you may not be able to eat them before they do, follow these steps:
- Wash your produce immediately with filtered water and a little apple cider vinegar in a bowl.
- Rinse again with plain filtered water, then juice or freeze.
- If you are freezing, allow your produce to dry first.
Freezing and juicing are great ways to make sure you are saving not only the produce but your money. Freezing your produce is excellent for making smoothies, sauces, broths or steamed vegetables. Juicing is a great way of getting loads of vitamins and minerals into your body and can maximize the amount of produce you can consume before it goes bad. When in doubt, juice or freeze your produce to save it.
Store on the top shelf of the refrigerator: berries, grapes.
Store on the middle shelf of the refrigerator: cherries, coconut (leave wrapped), dates, mushrooms (brown bagged) pomegranates, radishes (leave tops on for extended life).
Store on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator: beetroot (leave tops on for extended life), carrots, celery.
Store in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator: apples, bell peppers, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumbers, green beans, zucchini should be tightly wrapped biodegradable bag or grocery store bag.
Store on a rack or countertop: avocados, bananas, citrus, figs, kiwis, mangoes, melons, papayas, pears, persimmon, pineapple, tomatoes, tropical fruits, fruit such as peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots. Once they ripen, eat or store in the refrigerator to extend shelf life except for tomatoes, they should stay outside of the refrigerator.
Store in a cool dark place: garlic, onions, potatoes, winter squash.
- Asparagus: Trim the ends and put them in a small glass jar with some water with a biodegradable bag or grocery store bag over top in the refrigerator. Change the water every few days.
- Bananas: Hang from an S Hook.
- Herbs: Put them in a small glass jar with some water with a biodegradable bag or grocery store bag over top of them in the refrigerator. Change the water every few days.
- Leafy greens: When you pick your greens in a store, they are usually being sprayed by water to keep them from drying out. When you bring your greens home, you want to make sure you shake off any excess water. Loosely put greens in a biodegradable bag or grocery store bag with air inside then twist the top the bag. This will help your plants breathe more easily with high humidity and stay fresher, longer. If you buy greens that come in a plastic container, leave them in their box. I have always found my greens to last long no matter where I put them in the refrigerator.
I would love to have you talk about a loving way to deal with non vegan family/ friends who make fun of your food.
– Valerie, USA
This is a question many people on alternative diets can struggle with. Your response to anyone shows what level of self mastery you have reached and where you are on your journey. When it comes to dealing with non vegan family members and friends, it is important to stay grounded and centred in your heart space. You want to be able to express yourself authentically with love and compassion. Stay focused on you, on all the positive things you are doing with your lifestyle. This way you can stay in a peaceful, mindful state instead of becoming upset, anxious and/ or stressed. By speaking your truth from a place of love, you can talk about how it has impacted and benefitted your life in a healthy way. For example, you may want to talk about why you enjoy eating this food or how eating this way impacts the environment and the animals. Try to educate yourself as much as possible to help support your responses. If you react with the same negative energy that a person is sending to you, this will only lower your own energetic vibration. Responding back with confidence, love, composure and grace is key.
I’d like to turn this around for a minute just to show you how polarity exists. If someone is making fun of your food choices, please try to put yourself in their position. This is in no way condoning their unkind behaviour but rather to help you see things from a psychological perspective. Maybe there was someone who was vegan that they interacted with who tried to bully them. Imagine that this person was eating their animal based meal and someone who was vegan made faces at them or aggressively questioned their choices? This could turn someone off veganism. We can also look at it from another perspective, maybe there is something within them that makes them feel like they need to act in an inappropriate way because they feel uncomfortable or maybe even a little bit guilty for eating animal products so they lash out at someone who is trying to eat a healthier diet. We really never know what is going on within someone else unless we take the time to have an open communication with them.
Overall, people act in many different ways. This can be due to a range of reasons and influences such as their environment, how they were raised, the people they surround themselves with…We also have to look at habits, past trauma…Some people may not even know why they act in a particular way because they never truly took the time to learn about themselves to heal. They also may not even understand how their behaviour is actually affecting others. Digging further into this, some people may even lack self love. When someone truly loves themselves, they treat others with the same love, compassion and respect they would give to themselves. Treating people with kindness, consideration, empathy and dignity shows what level of consciousness people are operating on.
To go back to your original question, you treat people based on your own kind heartedness, not theirs. How you respond to other people is a reflection of your own awareness. If someone is being aggressive towards you over what you are eating, try to not take it personally. It may be that this person has no idea what veganism actually is, what it can do for the body and how incredibly beneficial it is for the planet and the animals. This person may be coming at you from a space that lacks knowledge. Take a look at how these friends and family members are filling their bodies, filling their minds and filling their hearts. One suggestion I would like to extend is to make a super flavourful meal of vegan comfort food for everyone to try to help them see how delicious this lifestyle can be. This way you can plant seeds and start to gradually help them change their perspective on what vegan food actually is. Remember, you are acting differently from society’s standards when it comes to diet. It’s important to stay grounded in your truth and to spread your light where you go. Don’t allow anyone to diminish your flame or move you out of your inner peace because of rude comments or behaviours. When you are totally secure in yourself, nothing can take away your peace.
I want to be fully raw but I feel like I would run out of ideas on how to eat raw food. I would like some tips or advice because I have been raw and cooked vegan but I feel better on the raw diet.
– Maira, USA
Thank you so much for writing in. The best tips and advice I can give to you about raw food innovation is to keep yourself inspired! There are an endless amount of recipe books that you can purchase in stores or online and a ton of great eBooks, websites, magazines, Youtube videos and even raw food apps that will allow you to play around with new recipes, try new flavours, combinations and get yourself amped about how much potential this lifestyle has. Whether you are looking for 80/10/10 or raw vegan gourmet meals, the information is out there waiting for you to discover it.
I would definitely recommend investing in a dehydrator. A dehydrator enables you to take raw food to a whole new level. Another suggestion is to attend events, fruit lucks, workshops/ classes, retreats and festivals that work with raw food. Surrounding yourself with supportive and creative people is extremely important to help you stay motivated. I am actually heading to a festival this weekend called the Woodstock Fruit Festival where they give lectures, informative classes, fun activities and create amazing meals for the entire week. When you bring this education into your life, it helps to keep you stimulated and energised to stay fully raw, if that is your intention.
My last tip is to find some really great sauce recipes. When you have delicious sauces, it definitely helps you to stay on a raw food diet. My dear friend Ashley Clark has several eBooks including Naturally Rawsome Sauces that she created with Chris Kendall which is a step by step guide on how to make your own sauces. They are also coming out with a new eBook called, Naturally Rawsome Dressings – 21 Dressings for Salads and Zoodle Dishes which will be released later this month. My favourite raw food eBook is by Ellen Fisher, called Epic Raw Food and right behind Ellen’s eBook at a close second is Jon Kozak‘s Nuts about No Nuts. It has super unique recipes that I absolutely love but you do need a dehydrator for a lot of them. As for physical books, I would highly recommend The Fully Raw Diet by my beautiful friend Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram. She makes the most delicious raw vegan meals. I would also suggest raw food recipes books by Matthew Kenney, Mimi Kirk, Judita Wignall, Amanda Brocket, Anya Ladra and Laura Miller.
Disclaimer: The advice offered in this column is intended for informational purposes only. Use of this column not intended to replace or substitute for any professional, financial, medical, legal, or other professional advice. If you have specific concerns or a situation in which you require professional, psychological or medical help, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified specialist. The opinions or views expressed in this column are not intended to treat or diagnose; nor are they meant to replace the treatment and care that you may be receiving from a licensed professional, physician or mental health professional. This column, its author and the website are not responsible for the outcome or results of following any advice in any given situation. You, and only you, are completely responsible for your actions.