I believe I mentioned in a previous post, “confessions of food obsessions” that I would never do another extreme diet again. So would you consider eating only raw food (essentially becoming vegan in the process) an extreme diet?
Those who embrace this culinary path call it a lifestyle, not a diet. Those who embrace a chocolate-covered-bacon lifestyle, would call it crazy (yes, I have had that; yes, it is incredible!)
You all know I am on a quest for nutrition info. A crusade even, without the bloodshed. I have been loving my whole foods regimen and never planned on going Vegan. (Hello! I have a freezer full of bunny and chee chees!) It all started with this movie:
I purchased it for a close friend struggling to get his blood sugar under control. After watching it, he went raw and saw amazing results within days. I casually mentioned this to another friend of mine in conversation and before I knew it, she called a friend and within about 5 minutes, I was signed up to ride shotgun on a raw food runway.
It would be my luck that the day we started was the day summer gave its notice and autumn with its runny-nosed, soggy chill stepped in. Not a big deal…unless you can’t cook up a bowl of chicken corn chowder or sip a sensuous mug of hot cocoa. Curses!!
Raw Foodies are fascinating. I have peeked into their world. They are creative folk. They spend as much time with presentation as they do flavor: maybe more! If I had a bone to pick with them (and you can’t pick a bone with a vegan) it would be the names of dishes they have in their cookbooks. They have ways of making sprouts and nuts look like nachos or chili or even a knock-off pizza. If I had it my way, they would not attempt to imitate, but would call those crunchy flax crackers with yellow hummus “goo n’crunch” instead of nachos. You wouldn’t expect cheesy melty goodness from the goo, and so might be more likely to enjoy them.
That aside, I am enjoying raw. I can do anything for 30 days. It was hard tonight, on day 11, as I pulled fresh baked cookies out of the oven for my kids (mentally arguing with myself “cookie dough is raw, go ahead!”). But overall, I am enjoying the challenge.
I meet weekly with Brittany, the friend my friend called, and we are learning together. Here was yesterday’s self-taught cooking lesson, er, preparation lesson: Nori Rolls.
The first surprise: we can’t have rice (it’s cooked). So how do you make sushi with no rice?! Did I mention I love, no, ADORE sushi. I would send it Valentines if I had an address. I wondered how those Raw Foodies would take on this genre without the signature sticky rice. Here is how those they get around it: jicama (the brown root veggie on the right side of the pic) diced into teeny tiny, well, rice-sized pieces. Clever.
We made 2 kinds of rolls. Sweet and savory. The savory was loaded with all kinds of veggies: asparagus, carrot, cukes, bell pepper, mushroom, sprouts, and also avocado and sesame seeds. The sweet was our own invention: cucumbers, tomatillo, crisp pear, grapes, and a light drizzle of Agave.
And the verdict? They were no Vegas rolls, but mmmmmmmmm. We were seriously braced for mediocrity; we were pleasantly amazed. It could be because we were both starving, but we devoured our plates in milliseconds and then rolled some more. It was a symphony of textures and flavors. Somehow, the taste of each component blended into something much better than mere crudité rolled in seaweed. We loved it. I would make these next month–which is an ultimate stamp of approval.
I also enjoy smoothies, juicing, a “meatless meat sauce” my mom made me and a dreamy creamy white sauce which would be heaven, if the Raw Foodies didn’t call it “alfredo.” (I love alfredo so much, I would have named a kid after it if we’d had another son.) Sauces are served over a bed of zucchini, shaved into ribbons to resemble spaghetti noodles. They took a little getting used to, but now I enjoy them.
So will I settle raw? No. It is hard work, pricy, and I never truly feel full. The health benefits are amazing, so I will try to go mostly raw. I could live “raw til dinner” pretty easily, munching on a bounty of uncooked goodness until the evening meal.
There are benefits. I dropped 5 pounds I wasn’t looking to drop. My daughter asked “where did the smooshy stuff on your tummy go?” Happy day. I also enjoy awesome energy. Lately, I have been working crazy hours, flitting from project to project and getting very little sleep. For the pace I’m keeping I know I should be laid up in bed with the flu by now. Yet, still I run around, keep up with my kids, work out and juggle a million balls. Guess that is worth laying off the chocolate covered bacon for a while.