Kate’s Raw Recipes
Raw foods are enjoying increasing popularity, particularly now many Hollywood stars are discovering how a diet based on fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds, sprouts and juices, leaves you feeling and looking so great. Recently, Donna Karan, the fashion designer attracted media attention when she lost two stone on a raw food diet, and Demi Moore went raw to train for her role in the last Charlie’s Angels movie. So is a raw food diet “the new Atkins”?
Well, no. Raw foods are much more than the latest fad. The practise of eating uncooked foods has a long and venerable history, dating right back to Biblical times. In The Essene Gospel of Peace, a reputedly overlooked book of the Bible, Jesus tells his disciples, “If you eat living food, the same will quicken you, but if you kill your food, the dead food will kill you also.”
There have been many different raw food movements across the world during the twentieth century, most notably Anne Wigmore and the Hippocrates Health Institute, who promote a living foods diet with an emphasis on green juices and wheatgrass. They have an amazing track record of healing people with life-threatening illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, and obesity.
In the 1990′s, a whole new generation of American raw foodists came onto the scene, in particular David Wolfe and Nature’s First Law (www.rawfood.com) operating out of sunny California. The latest sensation out of America is Roxanne Klein and Charlie Trotter’s cuisine (www.roxraw.com). They’re celebrity chefs taking gourmet raw foods to new heights.
In 1992, Susie Miller founded F.R.E.S.H. (Fruitarian and Raw Energy Support and Help) www.fresh-network.com here in the UK. Susie produced a regular newsletter, and drew together like-minded individuals until 1998, when Karen Knowler took over and took Fresh to new heights. Fresh now organizes raw food lectures and events across the country, and publishes a great quarterly magazine, as well as selling books, raw food products, juicers and other culinary equipment by mail order.
I’ve personally been eating this way for over ten years now. I find it liberating, energising, inspiring and uplifting. When I first started, like many others, I found changes happening on all levels of my life. Primarily, I experienced a great leap in energy levels: my body was no longer expending such huge amounts of energy on digestion, and so I felt an almost immediate improvement in my vitality. Also quickly apparent was a greater mental clarity and focus. I felt sharper, more alert, and after a long time on a raw diet, I am really conscious of having the resources to be constantly on the go without flagging.
Along with these more obvious changes, I also became aware of changes on a deeper level; I am now much happier and lighter, as the positive energy of raw foods fills my being. I am less prone to bad moods and depression, and more satisfied and content; I know myself better. All these elements combine to hugely increase my zest for living, leading to a more positive and productive lifestyle. Because I am eating food that is pure and undamaged, I feel whole – more at one with myself and the world around me.
From an ecological perspective, raw food is an incredible relief to the planet’s resources; little or no packaging and processing, no cooking, and waste that is largely compostable and biodegradable. Another big plus for many women is the weight loss issue: because on the raw diet all our foods are nutrient-dense, the body’s requirements are met quickly and efficiently. This in turn means that the body needs less energy for digestion, fighting toxins and excreting poisons, so it is much less demanding in its requirements. If you want to drop the pounds then stop counting calories and start counting nutrients!
Of course, eating raw is not a magical cure-all. It is just as possible to be an unhealthy raw foodist as an unhealthy carnivore. Far better, holistically, to eat cooked vegetables that have been organically and locally grown, than a mango which has been heavily sprayed and shipped across the world. Too much fruit can cause havoc with the blood sugar and damage the teeth, too many nuts are mucus-forming and hard on the liver.
Another common pitfall is yo-yoing; going all raw for a period, then giving in to temptation and going overboard on all the cooked treats you had been missing. This puts a huge strain on the body and can be more damaging than not trying to be healthy at all!
Best to introduce raw gradually. For example, you could start your day with a smoothie instead of cereal: blend up one banana, one piece of fresh fruit, a glass of water and some flax oil or tahini, for a nutritious and filling breakfast. Or have a raw side dish with your dinner every evening. This way you’re not missing out on your favourite foods; you don’t have to give up cheese, potatoes, or whatever it is you love, just eat them with a large green salad. And if you have a sweet tooth, there is no shortage of yummy raw recipes for cakes and biscuits.
Just to give you an idea of what is possible, here is an average selection of dishes from my raw food diet. Every day, I have a big glass of green juice, for example, cucumber, celery, parsley and broccoli, as well as some wheatgrass. I also have a scrumptious salad of maybe lettuce, spinach, alfalfa, hijiki, avocado, sauerkraut, and carrot in a flax oil and lime dressing. This past week for dinner we have had Thai red curry; sunflower sausages; chick pea burgers; wild chicory salad; satay greens; oriental coleslaw; pecan nori rolls; tomato soup and essene bread; dill stuffed peppers…those are just a few examples of the delicious foods that I make completely raw.
We have lots of raw biscuits and cakes made with different combinations of sprouts, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables. These are made in the dehydrator, which heats food at low temperatures by drying it with a fan; thus the food is very slowly “cooked” without losing its valuable nutrients (average dehydrating time for is 12 – 24 hours). There are two other pieces of equipment which I couldn’t be without – the Samson juicer, and the Vitamix, a high-powered blender. But they are not necessities – I was raw for five years before I had any of them, and my standard juicer and food processor did me fine.
I believe that raw fooders will become more and more accepted over the next few decades, to the same degree that vegetarians are now. When I was a child, vegetarianism was still highly unusual and regarded as cranky. Now, every restaurant and café has a vegetarian dish, and people are prepared to accept the fact that it is possible, even preferable, to live without meat on a daily basis. I hope that by the time my children are adults, raw foods will be equally integrated into our culture, and people will see the logic of eating food that has not been killed by the cooking process, just as they can now see the logic of not eating an animal which has been killed.
For more information on raw foods, workshops, consultations, superfoods, juicers, water filters, and books, go to Kate’s website www.rawliving.co.uk.
From the book Eat Smart, Eat Raw by Kate Wood (Grub Street, 2002).