Brussel Sprout Salad: torn raw sprouts, carrots, red radish, cauliflower florets, topped with dressing, diced
avocado, raw sunflower seeds. Blood Orange-Beet Dressing: blend 1 inch zucchini, 1 slice avocado, 1 Tbsp beet juice, 1 squeeze blood orange juice, 1 segment blood orange, pinch pasted garlic, 1 cap grape seed oil, fresh thyme, herbs de provence, crushed black peppercorn. Pepper Flax Crackers: puree 1/4 of a red bell pepper with seeds and pulp with a Tbsp of water and a pinch of pasted garlic, add to a handful of ground raw flax seed (in the coffee grinder works well), half handful of whole raw flax seed, half handful raw hemp seed, 1/4 handful of raw sunflower seeds, fresh Italian parsley, ground black peppercorn, dash of himalayan sea salt, add some water gradually until it sticks together then flatten on a piece of parchment and dehydrate at 115 for about 3 hrs
Those of you who follow my Facebook will have seen me post about raw foods lately. I promised a full report of my experience with this diet and the benefits that can be gained. So, what is it, and why should you care? Well, apparently when we cook food we destroy enzymes that naturally trigger our body to digest them. When these enzymes are destroyed, the body does not recognize what the food is and does not properly absorb all of the nutritional value. Parts of the food may be left not fully digested and can cause a rancid acidity that leads to disease. The cooking process also destroys some of the food's vitamins and nutrients. And NO YOU DO NOT HAVE TO EAT EVERYTHING RAW! Maintain a balance of at least 51% raw food at each meal, and you can reap the following benefits: improved digestion, more energy, boosted immunity, boosted memory, lowered inflammation, improved heart health, clearer skin, better nutrition, healthier weight, improved liver function, less headaches, less allergies, lower risk of cancer, lower blood pressure, less arthritic pain, and improved blood sugars.
Raw Cauliflower Curry
I made the following adjustments: raw mixed nuts, red curry, no sweetener, added fresh garlic and lime juice. Topped with raw sunflower seeds and pepitas
And, it's not all vegetables. Okay, there are a lot of vegetables, but that is certainly not all there is. A raw food diet is unprocessed and can include raw or dehydrated organic fruits and vegetables, raw or dehydrated herbs and spices, raw nuts and seeds, raw honey or agave nectar, raw dairy, sprouted grains, fermented foods, eggs, and even fish and meat as long as it makes up less than 49% of each meal! The food does not always have to be cold, you can warm it up in a high speed blender or you can use a dehydrator as long as you keep it at 115 or below. Oh yeah, and get this, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO COOK ANYTHING! Sure, yeah, there is still some prep involved, but there's nothing like being able to eat your dinner as soon as you're done making it! None of those nights where you're running late and it has to cook for an hour, and you forgot to preheat the oven so now it's gonna be more like two... and oh forget it... I'm hungry... lets get a pizza.
I found this diet rather easy to follow. For breakfast every morning I had a green smoothie with added dehydrated vegetable protein and 1 T of coconut oil. There are a million recipes on the web, or you can just make your own, but I like the recipes at Daily Burn or Raw Family, use the links:
Zucchini Noodles with Spinach-Pesto
Spiralized Zucchini Noodles (use a paring knife or sprializer)
Sauce: I pureed this in my ninja cup super simple - handful of spinach, handful of basil, garlic (which I pasted first), pine nuts, raw pecans, lemon juice, himalayan sea salt, black pepper, and a little bit of cayenne dehydrated from the garden, dash of grapeseed oil, 1/2 T coconut oil
You can play with any Sauce for this, try a garlic, lime, avocado sauce, or a sun-dried tomato, almond sauce, or even a raw peanut sauce (garlic, ginger, chili, lime, coconut water)!
For lunch, I tried a new creation every day, because well, I was having fun with it! At the beginning of the week, I was finding recipes online. By the end of the week, I had the hang of it and was throwing them together on my own. I have shared some throughout. And for dinner, I found myself eating a raw spinach salad, some cauliflower rice or possibly anything left from lunch if I had made too much, and a 2 oz portion of meat, fish, lentils, or protein rich beans. This came out to be more than 51% raw! And it, really wasn't very hard to do. The dishes I made on average took only 10-15 minutes to prepare, did not require any skill, tasted delicious, and many are adaptable enough that I could switch something up a little bit and have a completely different meal (as in the noodles above or the rice below). I kind of think the hardest part of a raw food diet, is starting the raw food diet... Stop thinking about how hard it's going to be, and just DO it! You will be surprised!
Ginger-Lime Cauliflower Rice
Find the recipe at http://www.cookincanuck.com/2015/02/grated-cauliflower-salad-with-ginger-lime-dressing/?m
I added cucumber and mint to the salad, and added garlic to the dressing while cutting agave down to 1/2 tsp.
You can switch this up by adding different types of peppers, squash, radish etc and changing your dressing to lemon italian or orange basil or grapefruit shallot... Get creative!
How did I feel? Well, it's hard to say really. Unfortunately I was sick this week, but I am not going to blame that on the diet, it was already in the works when I started. In considering the fact that I was sick, I think I got a heck of a lot done! I even went out to an event that ran a little past my bedtime and still got up for work at 4am and made it through the work day. I know myself, and I know, that I would normally have skipped that event. I probably would have skipped it even if I had been well. I find it hard to get places, especially when it's dark outside. I may not have been well, but I feel I had a bit of an energy reserve that I was not expecting, and I felt a little more optimistic. I can also say that I have not experienced any arthritic back pain this week. I found that I felt lighter. The food itself, was refreshing. I cannot speak to all of the benefits listed above as of yet, but I think I found a new way to eat! I hope some of you will give it a try!