If you’ve thought about becoming a raw foodist, you might be interested in knowing more about how raw foods are prepared and what constitutes a raw food diet. Basically the principle behind eating raw foods is that uncooked and unprocessed foods are healthier for you than foods that are cooked or dead.
Although there are many schools of thought around what is the healthiest diet, raw foodists are totally convinced that eating raw food reduces the risk of cancer and other deadly diseases. Research supports the notion that a plant-based diet, among other health benefits, lowers cholesterol and helps in glucose level maintenance.
When it comes to raw food preparation, the task isn’t all that easy. Raw foodists spend long hours using dehydrators that crunch vegetables and dry fruits and nuts for various recipes. Although a dehydrator works with heat, it cannot be higher than 115 to 118 degrees.
Serious raw foodists prepare their kitchens with the right equipment to whip up the tastiest dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They peel, chop, strain, blend, dehydrate and accent their food with the right combination of ingredients to make sure they have all their daily vitamin and mineral requirements.
Since a raw food diet is rich in nutrients, full of fiber, and low in fat and sugars, it often leads to considerable weight loss in its followers. However, raw food advocates do not view their diet as a weight loss solution but rather a lifestyle choice.
One concern of nutritionists is that raw foodists, along with vegans, may not get enough vitamin B12, calcium, iron, and omega-3 fatty acids that others get by eating animal products.
The American Dietetic Association offers these guidelines for raw foodists:[i]
- Eat almost twice the iron as nonvegetarians. Good sources of iron are tofu, legumes, almonds and cashews.
- Eat at least eight servings a day of calcium-rich foods like bok choy, cabbage, soybeans, tempeh, and figs.
- Eat fortified breakfast cereals, nutritional yeast, and fortified soymilk for B12. Supplements are a good idea.
- Eat flaxseed and walnuts. Use canola, flaxseed, walnut, and soybean oil. These are all sources of omega-3 fatty acids. You may also want to take an omega-3 supplement.
Preparing Meals on a RAW Diet
You might be thinking you’d like to give it a try. Why not? Even if you don’t have a dehydrator, or know exactly how to begin to prepare raw foods, you can ease into it by following some very simple recipes. You will find some basic ingredients such as avocado, dulce, sunflower seeds, dates, and carob that are incorporated in many recipes to meet the necessary nutritional requirements and add flavor to the dish.
There are many great resources on the Internet to guide you along to preparing delicious meals with videos to show you exactly what to do. I suggest you begin by trying a few recipes you can do in your own kitchen without purchasing a high tech blender or dehydrator. Find out first if a raw diet is something you can invest in, monetarily, physically, and mentally.
I have chosen a few simple recipes that you can try using nothing more than a household blender and a chopping block. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do. Whether you are committed to a raw food lifestyle, or simply want to increase your fruit and vegetable intake, these recipes will appeal to you.
Most of these recipes were gleaned from Web sites including recipezaar.com, welikeitraw.com, and living-foods.com and credit was given to recipe creators as indicated.
Almonds, dates, nutmeg, and water
In a blender mix to your taste
- SUPER EIGHT STRESS RELIEVER by Cherie Calbom
1 kale leaf 1 collard leaf, small handful of parsley, 1 stalk of celery, 1 carrot greens removed, 1/2 red pepper, 1 tomato, 1 broccoli floret, celery stalk for garnish
Juice leaves and parsley, then the celery and carrot. Follow with red pepper, tomato, and broccoli. Garnish with celery stalk.
- REJEUVENATOR by Steph Wilcock, Battery Park Juice Bar – UK
Great for clearing fuzzy heads and sweeping away the cobwebs!
1 large apple, half cucumber, 2 sticks celery, 2 fennel, handful spinach, handful parsley, juice of half a grapefruit (optional)
7 medium apples 1 cup of rolled oats 1/4 cup of raisins 1/4 cup almonds (optional) 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Cut the apples into wedges and remove the core. Juice the apple wedges and reserve 2 1/4 cups of the juice and 1/2 cup of the pulp. In a medium size bowl, combine the apple juice and pulp with the oats, raisins, almonds and cinnamon; mix well. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator. Allow the muesli to soak overnight. To serve, pour some of the muesli into a bowl and add fresh berries or banana slices. Yield: 3 1/2 cups
Preparation time: 10 minutes Chill: overnight
- CREAMY AVOCADO GAZPACHO – Courtesy of http://www.vegparadise.com/
1 C. (237 ml) water Flesh of 1 medium avocado, reserving 1 T. for garnish 2 C. (480 ml) chopped cucumber 1 1/2 C. (355 ml) chopped tomatoes 1/2 to 1 Serrano chile, with seeds, sliced (optional) 1 large clove garlic, minced 1 sprig mint leaves Juice of 2 lemons or limes 1/2 t. salt 1 t. maple syrup (can use dates or honey to sweeten)
2 small mint leaves Paprika (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a blender in the order listed. Start blender on low speed for a few seconds, and then switch to high. Blend until creamy and smooth, about 1 1/2 minutes.
Pour into 2 soup bowls. Dice reserved avocado and gently drop them into the center of the bowl. Add a mint leaf and sprinkle diced avocado with paprika if desired. Serves 2.
- SOUTH OF THE BORDER SOUP
6-8 Roma tomatoes, 1/4 onion, 2 carrots, handful of cilantro, 1 tsp taco seasoning, 1 cups water (optional), 1/4 jalapeno pepper, 3 stalks celery
Add all items into blender and blend. Enjoy!
- LETTUCE WRAPS
2 very ripe avocados, 3 tomatoes, diced, 1/2 jalapeno pepper diced, 2 tbsp yellow onion diced, 3 cloves fresh garlic minced, 1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped, kernels from one ear raw organic corn, 2 tsp fresh lime juice, 6-8 large romaine lettuce leaves
In a medium sized bowl, mash the avocado. Add remaining ingredients and stir until well mixed. Spread 2-3 tablespoons of this mixture onto lettuce leaves and wrap. Enjoy!
- CINCO DE MAYO SLAW
2 cups shredded red cabbage, 1 cup shredded green cabbage, 1 tsp. sea salt, 2 Tbsp. or more fresh squeezed limejuice, 2 tsp. honey, 2 green onions, chopped with tops, 3 Tbsp. or more chopped cilantro, pinch of cayenne, * add more sea salt and white pepper if desired.
Combine all ingredients well. Serve immediately
- T.C.’S SUPER SALAD – Recipe courtesy of the Living Nutrition Magazine
(4 – 6 Servings)
2 to 3 lbs. of tomatoes 4 med. or lg. avocados (or 1lb chopped or ground nuts or seeds), 4 stalks celery, 4 lg. red (or green) bell peppers, 2 lbs. bok choy stalks and greens. Optional: 1 grapefruit
Dice the tomatoes, celery and the bell peppers. Quarter, peel and dice the avocados, Cut up the bok choy, Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix together. Optional: Squeeze the juice from the grapefruit and use for dressing
- COULD IT BE CHOCOLATE PUDDING? By Dr. Douglas Graham
12 dates, 12 black mission figs, 1 quart purified water, 1 tsp raw carob powder
Blend 12 dates, 12 black mission figs and 1 quart of purified water. (More or less water may be needed depending on the dryness of your fruit.) Start with slightly less, add one teaspoon of raw carob powder. Chill and serve in pudding glasses.
Mark Rosenberg, M.D.