The chronicles of adding raw food to my diet

On this blog, I'll post about the transition to a more raw food based diet. Check back often for posts on raw foods that I'm eating!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Coconut Carrot Curry Soup

One of the first raw soups I made was a Coconut Curry soup. The recipe I used was from a book called Raw Foods For Busy People by Jordan Maerin. The book is a thin paperback, and at first glance, might be overlooked, which is a shame, because it is packed with excellent information for a new raw foodist, as well as some great recipes.
This recipe involved opening up a Thai coconut to get the milk and the meat. I know what you're thinking - isn't that and advanced technique? Well, yes and no, really. There are some excellent, informative videos on how to open a Thai coconut on line, on being this video from the Renegade Health Show: go(coco)nuts!!
This is a Thai coconut:
Inside is the round nut which has the milk and meat in it. To get to it, you cut off the white husk, and use the heel of your knife to break the shell open:
Here's the meat and milk after I scraped it out of the shell:
The meat is very soft, almost gelatinous, and the milk, is actually a thin liquid with a mild coconut flavor (I actually made coconut "ice cream" from one on Friday which was soooo delicious, but that's for another post)....

The soup had grated carrots, the coconut milk and meat, diced onion, juice of a lime or 2, powdered ginger, curry powder and cilantro in it. I used my new Blend-Tec blender, which is a high speed blender, that can process just about anything, to process it all up (except cilantro).
After blending it all together, I added the chopped cilantro. The soup was spicy and delicious. The spice of the ginger and curry powder really warmed the body. I will definitely make this soup again :)
Try something raw today!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Sprouted Chickpea Hummus

I wanted to post a quick note about using the sprouted chickpeas from my last post.
I ate some of them on salad and the rest I made into hummus.

Here's a pic of the chick peas - look at their tails :)

For the hummus I pureed the sprouted chickpeas, sesame tahini (which is sesame seed paste), garlic, a bit of extra virgin olive oil and I also added in nutritional yeast and sea salt. It was delectable.
I ate it on salad. topped with Hemp seeds. Hemp is a great source of your essential fatty acids (omegas) as well as protein. Here's some nutritional stats:
In 3 TBS there are:
174 calories
14g fat w/only 1g saturated and 7.5g Omega-6, 3.0g Omega-3, 0.6g Super Omega-6 and 0.3g Super Omega-3 SDA
2g Total carb (1g fiber, <1g sugar)
11g protein!! In 3 TBS!! Amazing!

Here's the hummus - it was thick and hearty enough to be a meal....
Enjoy - try something raw today!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

So, what is raw food anyways?

I was mystified by the term "raw food" when I first started learning about the concept. But really, it's not hard to grasp. Have you eaten an apple off the tree? Then you've eaten raw food.
What about a salad with crisp greens and lots of fresh veggies? Then you've eaten raw food.

Where I think the mystique comes in is regarding "cooking".
Raw foods are typically are heated to only the range of ~104-118. The theory is that any heat above 118 will destroy the vital enzymes in raw, "living" foods. When living foods are taken into the body, the enzymes they contain can first digest the nutrients and break them down so that they can then be absorbed by the body. When the enzymes are destroyed, and food is eaten, the body tries to break the foods down and has a hard time doing so. This causes less nutrients to be absorbed, and it causes foods to stay in the body longer than they should be.
Raw living foods are also full of fiber, and you know what that means!!! To put it nicely, easy elimination by the body.... as I indicated above, cooked foods are harder to digest and tend to hang out in the body as waste products, bogging the body down.

Another highlight of raw, living foods is that they get the pH of the body to alkaline, or base. This is desirable because a healthy body is about 70% alkaline and 30% acidic. Cooked foods, that have had their enzymes destroyed by heat will create a more acidic body and that leads to a variety of health problems. For that reason, many people who have chronic health issues, if they want to take a more holistic approach to getting better, will turn to raw foods to heal.

So, raw foods are foods that have not been heated about 118. But there's more to it.
Many foods are raw, but are in a dormant state. What does that mean you might ask?
Well, take a raw bean, nut or seed. They all contain the nutrients and enzymes necessary to promote life, right? Plant them and you (might) get a plant.
Well, when you buy them, they first need to be stimulated or woken up so to speak, to get those enzymes going. The way this happens is by soaking them in water, causing them to sprout.
That sprout contains quality protein, high levels of amino acids, vitamins, minerals and enzymes, in a highly digestible form.
Soaking the seeds, nuts and beans also removes undesirable acids that protect them in their dormant state called phytic acid and oxalyic acid. Again, this then makes digestion of these seeds, nuts and beans much more digestible by the body.
Sprouting is one of the easiest ways to add raw foods to your body.
Here's a pic of some chick peas that I have sprouting:
Basic sprouting technique:
Even before I became interested in raw foods, I did my own sprouting. Basically what you do is first, take your beans or seeds and soak them overnight in a Ball Jar as I have done in my picture.
Cover the top with cheese cloth and then cover the jar w/a towel so that sunlight does not get in.
The next morning, drain the jar, leaving the cheese cloth over the top. Rinse a couple of times with new, cool water and drain completely. Cover again with the towel. Rinse again in the evening and cover w/towel. Repeat these steps until you have the desired size sprout. Obviously, different beans and seeds, and nuts as well will have different sprouting lengths.
To harvest, simply remove cheese cloth, dump sprouts into a bowl and cover w/cool water. Swish them around, and then lift them out of the water. Place them onto a baking sheet covered with paper towels to dry out, and leave them out on the counter to get a bit of green going (stimulate that chlorophyll!!).
That's it. The sprouts are then ready to use.
What would I do with them, you might wonder?
Well, I like to eat sprouts on top of sprouted grain bread w/a schmear of Tofutti Cream Cheese. I will eat them w/hummus on crackers. I will add them to salads. Etc...possibilities are endless.
Some of these chickpeas are going to be mixed with raw sesame tahini, garlic, lemon juice and sea salt to be turned into hummus.
My next step is to start to use sprouts in foods that I will then dehydrate in a dehydrator. Dehydrators will "cook" the food by removing the water, but leaving the nutrients behind. I have purchased an Excalibur Dehydrator that can be set ~104-118 degrees for a set period of time.
Looking forward to blogging on that once I use it!!!
Rawk out all!!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Going raw

As some know, I'm a personal fitness chef and spinning instructor. I'm always on the pursuit to better my health and fitness.
Recently, I've started to cook for the family of a woman on a raw diet. In just a couple of months, I have learned from her, and have become SO intrigued with the idea of a raw food diet, that I've been studying and reading all I can about it, while at the same time, adding raw foods to my diet.

I've decided to chronicle my fascination with raw foods, and will post about the foods that I've added to my diet. Check back again for more on my "rawking out", 2010!

:) sharon