No Cooking Necessary: The Raw-Food Revolution

Fad diet or healthy lifestyle change? The Raw Diet has created a new relationship with the food we eat; Americans should love going raw because it allows the convenience of not having to cook at all. But what is the raw deal?

Being that I’m in San Francisco for the week, I thought it would be appropriate to write about one of the diet trends that continues to sweep this city. The Raw Diet.

This is an entirely different echelon of Veganism folks. Like regular vegans, raw eaters do not eat meat or dairy products; however, the raw diet takes things above and beyond by requiring everything come from unprocessed and processed plant foods (beans, nuts, fruit, veg, grain, etc.)To go along with the ‘raw’ theme, raw eaters do not prepare their foods with temperatures exceeding 116F. Why? This seems like quite the arbitrary restriction.

According to raw eaters, cooking food diminishes its nutritional value 10 fold as valuable enzymes are destroyed with high temperatures; enzymes that assist in the digestion/absorption of food.  Essentially, sucking the life out of the ‘life-food’. I guess it would make sense why most people with a Western diet are victims of various dietary and digestive issues…are we cooking the ‘hell-th’ out of the foods we eat?

Health Benefits of the Raw Diet:

  • ^ Energy
  • ^ Radiant Skin
  • Weight Loss
  • Decrease in embarrassing digestive problems
  • Reduced risk of heart disease (the raw diet is significantly lower in saturated fat than the regular Western Diet.

Also, eating raw doesn’t necessarily you are restricted to eating the most boring foods of all time. Not only can you purchase interesting and delicious heirloom fruits/veg at your local farmers market (*nudge, nudge*) but restaurants all over California are coming out with new and interesting raw menus to cater to this growing new gastronomy. Raw food can be gourmet? Fo’ Realz?!

Life Food Gourmet "burger"
Life Food Gourmet "burger"

This is a raw ‘burger’ made to look like your greasy mystery meat patty.  Instead of the fat and health problems, the raw burger is made out of beans and grains, providing the hearty meat taste with a healthy twist. No reason to fear fruits and vegetables anymore, they can be prepared in more ways than simply lifeless on a plate.

Granted there are many benefits to the Raw Diet, it is a difficult one to maintain. If you are thinking about beginning the journey to raw-ify your life, make sure to consult a doctor and make the transition slowly…you don’t want to shock your body into submission. But I promise in the end your intestines and colon will thank you 😉

The diet is also what we would consider a low-carbon diet due to its lack of meat, dairy, and foods that require serious processing. The only carbon producing part of this dietary equation comes from the methane gas produced by…you after a feeding frenzy on beans and raw vegetables (you might want to date other raw eaters so at least this becomes a mutual understanding).

So the answer to my original question?

-The Raw diet might seem like a passing fad soon to join the diet graveyard of past-Hollywood ‘miracle’ diets, but a raw eater would beg to differ. According to the movement (yes, I’ll call it a movement) eating raw is simply a means to reconnect with the ways that humans ate in the beginning of time, when diets consisted mostly of fruits and vegetables with very minimal cooking. Evolution proved this one to be a success folks 😉

Here’s a recipe to start your raw life off right. Thanks to The Daily Raw Cafe Blog

Strawberry Panna Cotta with Blackberry Compote (aka YUMMMM)

Strawberry Panna Cotta with Blackberry Compote
Strawberry Panna Cotta with Blackberry Compote

Blackberry Compote

6 oz blackberries
2 T agave nectar
1/8 t sea salt

Marinate blackberries in agave nectar and sea salt in the refrigerator for two hours (overnight is best).

Place two 4-inch springform pan (without the bottoms) in the freezer on top of saucer plates or dessert plates. Chill for an hour.

Strawberry Panna Cotta

1 c strawberries, cleaned and stemmed
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 t sea salt

Marinate strawberries in lemon juice and sea salt for an hour.

2 c cashews, soaked for an hour
1/4 c water
3 T agave nectar
1 t ground flax seeds

Blend cashews, flax seeds, agave nectar adding water one tablespoon at a time until cashews are blended well. Add strawberries and remaining water until very smooth and firm

Pour mixture into chilled 4-inch springform pan. Chill in freezer for 2 hours to set.

Carefully remove molds from panna cottas. Leave it on the saucer plates and put in the refrigerator overnight. Let stand at room temperature 5 minutes to soften slightly. Serve panna cottas with compote.

Alright folks, back to my San Franciscan getaway, hummus and Birkenstocks anyone?

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Get Excited

Just wanted to write a quick post about my level of pumped-ness (what?) for a post that will be coming later this weekend/early next week. A friend of mine has her own veg garden in her yard and she said that she would be more than willing to give us a couple tips for the home-grower wanting to begin the journey to fruit and veg enlightenment, a true grassroots gourmet.

oh yes

oh, yes.

 In the meantime, read this really intense/funny/scary post about Monsanto, Industrial Farming, and the New Obama ErAAAA

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Farming–Why-Obama-s-gove-by-Linn-Cohen-Cole-090125-421.html

Homegrown Education

Has all this talk about pesticides and genetically modified seeds killed your appetite for the commerically produced stuff??

Good.

You are now ready to start considering the many alternatives to your consumerist lifestyle. No longer do you need to be dependent on the faceless grocery gods to put food on your table. Now you may be asking, “How am I supposed to get fresh zucchinis, and lettuce, and tomatoes, and and and ALL THOSE OTHER FRUITS AND VEGGIES, if I boycott the supermarket?!”

Well my dear friends, the simplest answer is to grow them yourself! Yes! that’s right, growing your own fruits and vegetables not only shrinks your carbon footprint and saves your funds, but it’s also immensely satisfying! What could be better than biting into a tangy, juicy, ruby red tomato that you plucked off the vine from your own garden? The students of the Garden Club at Pitzer College in So Cal seem to understand the distinction…

I was lucky enough to meet with these students to discuss some of the benefits of growing your own produce. They even offer some really great tips on how to go about starting your own garden. Check out the video below to learn from these groundbreaking (hah no pun intended) students.

…P.S. I shot/edited this video in a very short amount of time because I wanted to put it up onto the site as soon as possible…It says it’s 7:37 mins long, but its only about 5:30.

No more complaining about the high cost of buying organic, because nothing is cheaper than doing it yourself!! Thanks Pitzer Kids… I’m going to go pick myself somethin’ tasty.