Ooh Baby, I like it Raw…..
Please get your mind out the gutter lol. This will be more of a review and some information on raw food. I’m noticing a lot of cookbooks dealing with raw foods and the benefits of living a raw lifestyle. I just wanna say that it had to grow on me at first. Sure I have a love/hate relationship with meat and have no problem eating vegetarian and vegan food, but what’s this business about uncooked food? Can one live on seeds, nuts, fruits and vegetables alone?
Raw Food is just what the name suggests. It is food that is not only vegan, but not cooked, baked, fried or sautéed. It is food that it naturally and organically grown with out the use of chemicals and it is food that is not pasteurized. The food is lightly heated using a dehydrator to create fruit strips, crackers, and ‘breads’. It gives the body energy, enhances your skins’ appearance and helps to maintain mental clarity. Also known as living foods or ‘live foods’, these foods are full of enzymes that help you digest food and aid in metabolism. It makes sense because when you cook food, you kill off the live enzymes and most of its natural vitamins and minerals that are supposed to be good for you. And finally, eating raw fruits and vegetables helps to detoxify the body and eliminate wastes. I have a couple of raw food cookbooks, one called Raw Food/Real World by Sarma Mengalis and Matthew Kensey, and the other, Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen by Ani Phyo. Both books are very colorful and describes the benefits of the raw food diet and the movement itself for more sustainable foods. In many of the recipes, they use dehydrators, food processors, and blenders for smoothies, purees, and to make stuf like crackers and breads. I’ll admit, I’m not a huge fan of recreations of regular food like burgers and lasagna because, I’ve tried it and they taste awful. Too salty, too sweet, and too nutty. Most of the ingredients used in raw foods happen to come from coconuts and coconut oil which have gotten a bad rep until recently, agave syrup, nutritoonal yeast, and cocoa powder. Even Whole Foods have started selling raw food. They sell packaged raw crackers, macaroons, raw cookies, and other raw goodies. These tend to be very expensive so if you’re feeling a little adventurous and have some extra dough, shell out $10 for some crackers or granola. I don’t know about other areas, but the Whole Foods in the DC/Baltimore area sells them from their vendors Awesome Foods, and Zia’s Cafe’ in Towson. I’ve had Awesome Foods’ raw taco, raw pizza, and raw mediterranean wrap. The pizza was good, but the taco was too salty, nutty, and left my mouth dry. The med wrap was soggy, the veggies were soggy and it was just plain disgusting. I even took that one back for something else. From Zia’s Cafe’, I had the raw coconut creme pie, and raw apple cobbler. The pie was so delicious, creamy and not too sweet. They used unsweetened coconut and coconut oil in many of the dessert dishes without the coconut being overpowering. The cobbler tasted pretty good as well. I thought that they may have used too much cinnamon though. But the cobbler ‘crumbs’ were made from pureed dates and walnuts. Unfortunately, this one sent me running to the bathroom. But that’s supposed to be a good thing right? Recently, I ate the Curry ‘Chicken” wrap from Zia’s Cafe. The wrap itself was made from collard green leaves and the filling was made from a pureed mix of sunflower seeds, cashews, curry powder, turmeric, carrots, grapes, and nutritional yeast. It was packed in flavor and I almost forgot that it wasn’t really chicken salad. It got its creaminess from the cashews that were probably soaked in water first before being pureed.
So I’ve decided to include some of my favorite recipes from the books that I have tried. Here’s one from Ani’s Book on page 166, Save the Tune Pate’. This can be eaten with crackers, chips, or wrapped in collard green leaves to make a tuna wrap. Suprisingly, this stuf had NO tuna in it, but tasted like it could be tuna salad
Save the Tuna Pate’ -makes 4 servings
2 cloves of garlic
*1 tablespoon dulse flakes
2 cups of unsalted sunflower seeds
Juice of 2 lemons or 4 tablespoons
1/2 cup of water
2 grated carrots
1/2 bunch of parsley leaves chopped
1/4 cup of red onion chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Process the garlic and dulse in a food processor. Then add the seeds and processor to make a small crumb like mixture. Add the lemon juice and just enough water to make a thick paste. Scoop the pate’ in a bowl and add the carrots, parsley, onion, and salt and pepper to taste.
*Dulse flakes and small red/purple seaweed flakes that can be found in most health food stores They can either be snacked on raw, or eaten in soups and salads.
Here’s another one from Raw Food/Real World called Chocolate pudding page 239. It has no dairy in it which I like considering I can’t have most foods with dairy. Most vegans usually eat chocolate pudding made from tofu, but this one is derived from coconuts.
Chocolate Pudding – makes 4 servings
2 cups of coconut meat*
3/4 cup of coconut water at room temperature(or more if needed to thin)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
In a high-speed blender, puree all the ingredients until completely smooth, stopping to scrape the sides at times. Transfer to bowls and chill for a firmer pudding or just eat it right away. This tastes great with fresh fruit such as strawberries and raspberries.
*it’s best to use young Thai coconut meat. This coconut is softer than the regular kind and has a tan looking husk around it that looks pointed at the top. They sell these at ethnic grocery stores and health food stores but one can also find them packaged in the freezer section in some Asian markets.
So far, I have had my good and my bad with raw food. I know that people live on this stuf in their daily lives and it makes me wonder if they miss eating cooked food. To them, the benefits outweigh the costs. And sometime in the future, I will test this theory of the raw food diet and update my blog post under the title, Yeah Baby I like it Raaawwww!