The whole process of organic cooking and eating used to be much harder than it is now. I remember in the Sixties that I would have to look for "health food stores" in certain neighborhoods like Chicago's Hyde Park, where I hung out in my college days. There they had established a co-operative grocery store and nearby the little strip mall where it lived, you could also find so-called health food.
Today Tucson is well supplied with health-oriented supermarkets. And the thing is, if you can simply retrain yourself to shop there, you can fill your pantry with organic and clean food that meet the requirements of any recipe in any cookbook. Once your shopping is done and the food is clean, you don't have to worry about changing your eating habits so much.
A person may decide to become a vegetarian, which doesn't involve buying as much as it involves not buying--meat, that is. Most vegetarians are also familiar with how to eat and make sure that your body is supplied with its basic nutrients as well.
But if you would like to have what everyone else is having, nothing really prevents the organic cook from doing so. As an example, try this pasta salad after you have shopped for the basic ingredients at Sprouts or Whole Foods. And those of us who really seek out organic food know that you can do pretty well at Safeway and Basha's, where there are extensive sections for health-oriented and organic food.
GARDEN PASTA SALAD
2 cups organic whole-wheat rotini (6 ounces)
1/3 cup organic mayonnaise
1/3 cup plain organic yogurt or non-dairy substitute
2 tablespoons organic extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon organic red-wine vinegar or lemon juice
1 clove organic garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
Freshly ground white pepper to taste
1 cup organic cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup diced yellow or red organic bell pepper (1 small)
1 cup grated organic carrots (2-4 carrots)
1/2 cup chopped organic scallions (4 scallions)
1/2 cup chopped pitted Kalamata olives
1/3 cup slivered fresh basil
Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes, or according to package directions. Drain and cool under cold running water. Leave in a colander for mixing later.
Whisk the mayonnaise, yogurt, oil, vinegar (or lemon juice), garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl until smooth. Add the pasta and toss to coat. Add tomatoes, bell pepper, carrots, scallions, olives and basil; toss to coat well.
If you want to follow the Harvey Diamond rule about living food, stick to lemon juice in this recipe because the Fit for Life diet considers vinegar a dead food. Just so you know.
Because this salad doesn't contain meat (although it won't be vegan if you use the yogurt and regular mayonnaise), some crusty bread and light red or rose wine will give you a lovely Meatless Monday or just a nice vegetarian lunch or dinner. It would also go well as a side dish for fried chicken or an Italian-seasoned meat loaf if that is on the menu.