Life is not merely being alive, but being well.
– Edward Smith-Stanley
Food, glorious food! Such a central part of our daily lives, what we eat affects how we think, feel, and act. Though I don’t consider myself vegetarian, vegan, or a member of any particular diet-lifestyle group, I rarely eat meat. My general preferences tend toward natural, plant-based foods simply because they make me feel good. Because of this, the raw food movement has always interested me:
A raw food diet involves an “increase in the number of unprocessed and uncooked fruits and vegetables, as well as seeds, nuts, grains (mostly sprouted), and beans. A food is considered raw if it is uncooked or ‘prepared’ below 116°F, as above this temperature range, food begins to lose its essential nutrients and enzymes, or its ‘vital life force.’”
I’m lucky to be surrounded by many friends who are enthusiastic about raw food. Getting to eat their nutritious creations always leaves me feeling more energized, and inspired to look at food from a more holistic perspective. Recently, I got to know a bit more about this healthy lifestyle by speaking with one of my friends, Steph — who also shared some of her favorite recipes below!
K: How did you start your journey with raw food?
S: “I had my first raw food experience in June 2011 when I met a well known raw foodist who teaches workshops on how to prepare raw food, Loyenda. After his 2 day workshop I was very inspired and I could feel the change in my body from eating raw food. Suddenly I had so much more energy than before, and my digestive system worked much faster.”
K: Why is eating raw food good for us? Is there anyone who might see a negative impact from eating a raw food diet?
S: “Since raw food is uncooked, there is no way to kill the enzymes and vitamins in the vegetables. Enzymes help our body to process food and kicks our digestive system. But some people do get digestive problems (constipation), especially when they change their diet from one day to the next between cooked food to 100% raw food. You always need to keep in mind that you still need a healthy fat intake (for example, through coconut oil, sesame oil, olive oil, cacao butter, etc.) in order to keep your digestive system running. Everybody is different, and raw food won’t serve everyone. Ideally, you go slow if you want to change your diet, and really listen to your body. Everything in moderation!”
K: What is the difference between raw food and vegan food?
S: “The only difference between vegan food and raw food is that vegan food is mostly cooked, or steamed, while raw food is raw. Most of the raw foodists are also vegan; that’s why most of the recipes don’t contain any animal products.”
K: If I don’t want to eat raw food 100% of the time, is it still beneficial for me to eat raw only some of the time?
S: “Absolutely! Nourishing your body with raw, organic vegetables and fruits, and plenty of nuts and seeds, is the best thing you can do. Once you get into raw food, it might change your life! When you experience and understand the benefits of it, you will definitely notice a difference in your body and how you feel.”
K: What are your favorite raw recipes?
S: “There are many! These are three that I usually keep on hand. All you need is a grinder, a grater, and the following ingredients (organic, if possible).”
1. Sweet Tooth Chocolate Spread
S: “Since I have a sweet tooth, this chocolate spread is always in my fridge! My substitute for Nutella, once you’ve tried this, you probably won’t touch any other chocolate spread anymore.”
- 1 fresh coconut
- 1 cup of cashew nuts
- 4 tbps raw chocolate powder
- honey (depending on how sweet you like it)
- 4-5 tbsp coconut oil
- a tiny bit of coconut water, or coconut milk
2. Pure Delight Beetroot Salad!
S: “My boyfriend hate beets, but I still makes this all the time for myself and friends!”
- 4 – 5 beetroots
- 3 – 4 tbsp. olive oil
- a little bit of Himalayan salt
- 1 lime
- cashew nuts (put in just before you serve it)
- mix! Grate the beetroots for lovely curved slices, or chop with a knife for bite-sized chunks.
3. Nutritious, No Sugar Peanut Butter
S: “If you’re into peanut butter, try a healthier version without sugar, and which is made with nutritious oil.”
-1 cup of peanuts (not roasted),
-1 hand of raisins,
-1/2 cup of coconut oil
Getting back to natural eating is such a great way to improve how we feel physically, mentally, and emotionally. The idea is to explore new ways of looking at food, and finding out what makes our own bodies feel best. Raw food doesn’t work with everyone’s digestive systems, so be sure to be mindful of your own body’s needs.
Another fantastic part about raw food recipes is they tend to present beautifully when displayed on even just a plain, white serving dish. The colors and natural beauty in raw ingredients have a way of shining through. Holding a raw food party is a great way to bring together friends, try out a new dish, and leave everyone feeling energized.
These raw recipes will also be enhanced by serving a tall glass of clean, fresh water, poured straight from a Soma water filter. The sleek, minimalist lines of the glass carafe – along with with the absence of black flakes, and a lid that’s guaranteed to stay put — are a perfect aesthetic complement to any of these healthy, beautiful raw food delights.
Why not get started on feeling better with what we’re eating, drinking, and serving on our kitchen tables? The choice, as always, is our own: there’s no time like the presence to begin living more mindfully.
Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.