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!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Stocking my Raw Foods Kitchen

Where do I get my ingredients to stock my raw kitchen? Well, I do a lot of shopping on the internet. Whole Foods has a fine assortment of ingredients as well, but I do find their prices to be on the higher side, and they don't have everything I need to stock my raw kitchen with the hard goods.

One internet shop I like to buy from is Raw Food Naturals. They have a great assortment of the essentials that you need to eat on a day to day basis: nuts, seeds, nut and seed butters, raw food bars, raw food snacks, raw oils (think coconut, hemp etc), dried fruits and superfoods (gojis, mulberries), superfood powders for smoothies, sweeteners, the list goes on....and the best thing about this online store is it's excellent customer service.

Another internet site I buy from is The Raw Food World. Their site is bigger than Raw Food Naturals, as they offer equipment and appliances and other kitchen tools you might need. Their prices are competitive and they have a ton to offer.

I think that stocking the raw food kitchen is the most important thing to being successful on a raw foods diet. If you don't have the ingredients to prepare foods, you're going to then be at a loss at what to eat, and that's when you'll go back to the SAD (standard American diet).
So, lets chat a bit about what's in my kitchen. This is not an inclusive list, but highlights some of the hard items that have made it easier for me to add raw foods to my diet. When purchasing these ingredients, always chose the "raw" option. If it doesn't say raw, it isn't raw.....

1) Nuts and Seeds/Nut butters/Seed Butters:
Almonds - a must have nut in my kitchen, to make almond milk, "refried beans", a variety of raw bars, cookies, and treats
Cashews - excellent for making cashew cheese and creamy desserts, like ice cream (non-dairy of course)
Sunflower seeds - again, a must have seed for making a nice veggie pate, which can be used in rolls and wraps
Flax seeds - Huge in Omegas and great to act as a binder for crackers and breads
Hemp Seeds - possibly my favorite seed right now, hemp seed is packed with Omegas, protein and they are delicious on salads.
Chia Seeds - I know, Chia, you say? Yes Chia. The chia seed is an excellent seed to make into puddings, crackers, to add to smoothies etc. It is a nutritional powerhouse as well, high in fiber and protein.
Quinoa - quinoa is actually a seed and not a grain. I sprout it or cook it and eat it. I love it - it contains all the amino acids needed to make a complete protein and so is a good choice for vegans/vegetarians.
Raw Almond butter - Yum. Enough said.
Raw Sesame Tahini - perfect for making hummus and other pates.
Other nuts are great to have as well, such as pine nuts, macadamia nuts and the other tree nuts (walnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts); unfortunately, I am allergic to the other tree nuts so I can't enjoy them.
Sprouts are a powerhouse of nutrition. If you think about it, each tiny seed has everything inside of it necessary to make a plant. When you sprout a seed, and all of that nutrition comes out into the tail, you have life - all amino acids necessary to grow that plant are right there, ready to eat. Imagine what the sprout can do in your body? It's completely bio-available nutrition.
I sprout whatever I can - a variety of dried peas, beans (azuki, garbanzo, lentils) and seeds (clover, alfalfa, broccoli). The possibilities are endless.
Sunflower sprouts are also extremely nutritious. I have grown my own in the past, in soil, and I am currently getting set up to grow them as well as wheatgrass.

2) Sweeteners:
Raw Honey - honey that is unheated, unprocessed straight from the hive. Look for honey local to your area
Lucuma powder- this powder is a great sweetener - it comes from the fruit of plant in Peru and has a great caramel flavor.
Maple Syrup, Grade B - this grade of maple syrup is often not sold in conventional mkts. It is the least processed of syrups and has more minerals than the Grade A you find at the store.
Agave syrup - I'm still not convinced that this syrup is as bad as HFCS. Yes, it is high in fructose, but it still is low glycemic, not spiking the blood sugar as high as refined white sugar.
Mesquite Powder - this powder comes from the pod of the mesquite bean and is a pleasant sweetener. It has protein in it as well as vitamins and minerals.
Dates - dates are high on the glycemic scale and so for some people, such as diabetics, they are not ideal to consume. I love dates and I use them to make bars and cookies, to sweeten up almond milk and to round out the flavor in some savory soups and sauces.
Yacon Syrup - I'm just getting into this sweetener. It is delicious, reminiscent of molasses. However, it is extremely expensive.

3) Superfoods:
Raw Cacao pwder and nibs - yum, just yum. Nibs are great for a pick me up and to put in raw bars and cookies as well as trail mix. The powder has endless possibilities, cookies, smoothies, bars, ice cream, nut milks, you get the idea
Dried Goji Berries - a berry native to Asia, high in protein, good carbs, fiber and fat
Dried Mulberries - an antioxidant powerhouse!
Cacao Butter: Not used that much in my kitchen, but delicious to use in raw chocolates and other treats.
Coconut - I'm putting coconut under superfood because I think it's super - high in medium chain fatty acids and capryilic acid (natural antimicrobial agent), as well as electrolytes. Both the meat and water are a great addition to your kitchen.

4) Oils/Condiments:
Coconut oil/butter - excellent for adding to bars, smoothies and other treats
Cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
Hemp oil - see hemp seed above
Apple Cider Vinegar - many health benefits from apple cider vinegar, including anti-bacterial properties, increases metabolism, and helps fight allergies to name a few
Nama Shoyu - similar to soy, but naturally fermented
Bragg's Amino Acids - liquid protein that has a soy like flavor, vegetarian

5) Grains:
Millet, Amaranth (and quinoa): all of these will alkalize the body and can be sprouted.
Hard Red Winter Wheat - for growing wheatgrass and for sprouting to make raw, dehydrated breads
Oats - for soaking overnight to make raw oatmeal or to make into raw cookies and bars
Buckwheat - for soaking overnight to make raw porridge or to dehydrate into buckwheat "crispies" to eat as cereal, also to make into raw cookies and bars

So, these are some ingredients in my kitchen. Again, the list is not complete, there are many other ingredients that I have probably forgotten :) Contact me for more information :)
Eat something raw today!

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