Raw Food Diet


English: A close up of a fresh raw food dish

English: A close up of a fresh raw food dish (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I recently attended a raw food cooking class. A raw food diet is just what it says – food that is eaten raw or heated to no more than 115 degrees. According to raw food experts, the advantages are that raw food contains beneficial live enzymes that make it more digestible and that it has a higher vitamin and nutrient content.   Heating or cooking chemically alters food causing it to lose its ability to provide energy.  Cooking also destroys certain vitamins. A raw food diet can cleanse and heal. The raw food diet as a health treatment was first developed in Switzerland in 1897 by Dr. Maximillian Bircher-Benner, the inventor of muesli, after he recovered from jaundice by eating raw apples.  His health center is still in operation today.

In summer when fruits and vegetables are abundant, preparing seasonal, local, raw food is easy. A strict raw food diet year round however, is more involved and does not include any processed foods.  To make crackers, breads and other “baked” goods can be time consuming and requires advance planning.  Blenders, food processors, juicers and dehydrators are all needed equipment.  Sprouting and soaking are necessary to eat grains, legumes and nuts.  Nuts are a large part of the raw food diet and are used to make cheeses, crackers, breads and soups.

What appealed to me about the class was its emphasis on creating warming uncooked meals.  We learned simple tips like bringing all food to room temperature for a couple of hours before preparation and using lots of warming spices like cumin, curry and nutmeg.  Our meal started with a delicious raw butternut and green apple soup, followed by zucchini chive canapés, a zucchini slice smeared with chive cream cheese made from cashews – even better than “real” cream cheese! For dinner we made a Brussels sprout and pumpkin seed slaw, a wild rice and chickpea salad, kale and shallot pizzettes with 3 kinds of cheese (again, cashew based; the crust was made from flax seeds and vegetables “baked” in a dehydrator) and a fresh fig and lemon tart for dessert.  The dinner was fabulous and you never would have known it was uncooked!

I could never be an extreme “raw foodie”, but I do love experimenting with new and healthy cuisine.  I read somewhere to make 50% of your diet raw, so challenge yourself and give it a try. Below is a simple recipe for Cashew Parmesan cheese that rivals the real thing!  Email me for more recipes…

½ cup dry cashews

1 clove garlic (chopped)

¼ teaspoon sea salt (coarse)

Grind cashews and sea salt in food processor (with ‘s’ blade) until fine, almost powdery.  Add garlic and pulse food processor until texture resembles Parmesan.  Use on everything!

Information compiled from The Raw Truth, The Art of Loving Foods, by Jeremy A Safron and Renée Underkoffler,  http://en.wikipedia.org/, onesmallpatch.com.

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8 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Jean Thuma on November 21, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    Betsy,
    This sounds really good. I like the idea. I try to eat raw for breakfast and lunch. Dinner is tricky!

    Reply

  2. Posted by Christian Rene Friborg on November 22, 2012 at 2:51 am

    I wont’ mind if I eat Sashimi for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

    Reply

  3. There are many useful benefits of raw food diet, Generally fresh vegetables, fruites, juices are comes under raw food diet, and we get more energy from such types of food rather than cooked food.

    Reply

  4. Betsy, My daughter is a “cook” at a raw foods restaurant (Present Moment) in St. Augustine, Florida. When she started there with more than a decade of cooking experience, she said it was like learning to “cook” all over again. It’s a very interesting concept, but I agree I don’t think I could go over all the way. I plan on writing a blog about the owner and the restaurant after I visit there in December.

    Reply

    • How interesting! There used to be a high end raw food restaurant in Boston that was unbelievable! If I am ever in St. Augustine, I will be sure and go to your daughter’s restaurant – good for her. Thanks for commenting and I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving!

      Reply

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