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'Beach Foodie' by Cfayla Johnson

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Beach Foodie, by Cfayla Johnson

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Natural foods, raw foods, healthy eating, often imply bland, boring, or “strange” to all but the hard-core vegetarian/vegan eater. ‘Beach Foodie’ by Cfayla (S’fail-ya’) Johnson belies those myths by presenting a set of tasty, easy to prepare recipes based on ingredients found in most grocery stores.

I met Ms. Johnson via a wine class she attended, where she brought in samplings of the recipes found in this book to see how her foods paired with various wines. It was an interesting experiment that turned out to be more successful than we anticipated, and also introduced the students in the class to a new style of eating.

All of the recipes use raw foods, and most have a maximum of 5 ingredients. According to the introduction, “If they can’t go in a container and survive in a backpack or cooler on the beach, they didn’t make it into the book.” And they are simple: For her Vanilla Fudge recipe, for example, the instructions read “Fix it, mix it, chill it, it sets up like fudge.”

What was interesting during the class sessions was to see how well these foods paired up with a rather wide variety of wines. Wine pairings are frequently focused on cooked foods that have intensified flavors that develop during the cooking process, but that also meld into a mellower combination. With raw foods, there’s none of the tempering that occurs during cooking, so there is a tendency for the flavors to be more stark and forceful. The best pairings came with wines that had softer tannins.

If you’re thinking of improving your food choices, or just supplementing an existing diet, this book has some good options. The last part of the book includes Johnson’s philosophy on eating, life, and health. It’s a little preachy for me, but there are some good nuggets of advice on lifestyle and nutrition (and it’s a short section…).

Beach Foodie is available from major bookstores, and in both print and Kindle editions from Amazon. Ms. Johnson also maintains a blog where she shares thoughts and recipes.

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