I am not now, nor have I ever been a “chef”. Cooking never really ‘lit my fire’, pun intended. I know, I know… as a raw food eater, I should be promoting a raw diet because it is naturally better for you and the environment and etc. etc., but the truth is, I went raw simply out of pure laziness. OK, I’ve admitted it. This lifestyle has, however, rendered me some amazing health benefits that are well worth noting and that would prove to be beneficial to just about anyone willing to embark upon this unique journey.
Usually when people hear the term ‘Raw Food Diet’, they think that means chewing on carrots & celery all day. This is not the case. This particular type of diet is based on unprocessed and uncooked plant foods, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, sprouts, seeds, nuts, grains, beans, dried fruit, and seaweed – YUM! When you heat food anywhere above 116 degrees F, it destroys enzymes in the food that assist in digestion and absorption of food. Cooking also diminishes the nutritional value and “life” of most food.
Those who have implemented the Raw Foods Diet (75% raw/25% processed) boast of numerous health benefits:
- Better Digestion – raw foods put the smackdown on IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), Gastrointestinal Issues and Constipation
- Weight Loss – when you reduce your caloric intake by chowing down on fresh, organic fruit & veggies as opposed to danish & hot dogs (let it be known, I have nothing against the Danish or dogs that are hot), you tend to see less inches in the waistline and the buttline and the thighline… you catch my drift??
- Better Skin – some people wear their processed, oil & fat-filled diets on their skin. You know those blotches and acne? Not only is it hereditary, but your diet more than exaserbates the already delicate skin issue you’ve got going on. Do your skin a favor and feed it properly, it’s the largest organ you have!
- Increased Energy – you know that brisk morning walk you keep promising to do? Well, you may actually want to do it with the loads of energy you’ll wake up with utilizing a raw food diet. There are much fewer fats and bad carbs to weigh you down and tire you out.
Now that you know what the benefits are, I think I should provide you with a little bit of ammo to get your raw food experience started. Remember, a raw food diet is not about just picking up a veggie or fruit and devouring it – the terms ‘organic’ and ‘local’ become mantras to you. These terms usually ensure that the items were grown pesticide free and didn’t need a passport (i.e. having been transported from out of state or a location that’s relatively far from you) to get here – of course if you live near a toxic waste dump, you may want to consider ‘not-so-local’ fruit & veggies. For the farmer’s markets, family farms, and the like in your area check out www.localharvest.org. Now, onto the eats…
- 1 pound of your favorite large mushrooms
- 1/3 cup of Pine Nuts
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup of fresh cilantro, packed leaves, chopped
- 1/3 cup of fresh basil, packed leaves, chopped
- 1 tbsp of lemon juice
- 1 cup of tomato, chopped
- 2 tbsp of Braggs or to taste
Place all ingredients into a food processor, except the tomatoes, and pulse chop several times. Stop to scrape down the sides and repeat. Add the tomatoes and continue to pulse chop until just blended. Keep a texture to apesto, it should not be a puree. Remove stems from mushrooms and stuff the filling into the cap of the mushroom. Place on a dehydrator sheet and dehydrate at 105 degrees for 2-4 hours.
Cinnamon Date Bread
- 3 cups of soft wheat, sprouted 1 day
- 1 cup of dates (pitted)
- 1 tsp of cinnamon
- 1/2 cup of raisins
Process wheat and dates in a champion juicer using the solid plate. Add cinnamon and raisins to the mixture and mix well. Form into 4 loaves of bread, place on a teflex sheet in the dehydrator at 105 degrees for 5-6 hours, remove teflex sheets and turn bread over, continue dehydrating for 5-6 hours, or until desired moisture is obtained.
Raw Veggie Casserole
- 3 lettuce leaves, shredded
- 1-2 zucchini, shredded in Food Processor
- 1-2 carrots, shredded in Food Processor
- Handful of alfalfa sprouts
- Handful of cauliflower, bite sized pieces
- 1/2 red bell pepper, sliced/diced
- Handful of chopped red cabbage
- 2 tomatoes
- 1 stalk of celery
- 2 carrots (whole)
- Juice of one lemon
In a blender, blend: 2 tomatoes, 1 stalk of celery, 2 carrots (whole), and juice of one lemon
Then add soaked sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, almonds, or avocado to your desired thickness. Pour this mixture over the casserole and mix thoroughly.
- 1 cup of date paste (1 lb of dates=1 cup of date paste)
- 1 1/4 cup of raw almond butter
- 1 1/4 cup of raw carob powder
- 1/3 cup of honey
Mix and press into 9×9 square pyrex pan/dish. Refrigerate at least one hour. Cut into squares.
As you can see, going raw will require a few extras. A dehydrator is invaluable and a food processor gets the silver medal right behind it. Planning and preparation is important, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be raw in no time. For more raw recipes, check out living-foods.com.
If you have any questions or would like to share some of your delicious RAW recipes, please feel free to leave a comment.