Sunday, November 21, 2004

Raw Food Recipes

I originally wrote this for a local Peace Community recipe book that was never published. So here it is -- the raw truth. Happy rawing!

Laura and I eat lots of raw foods. Not only do they taste delicious and require little preparation, they are the most natural foods we can eat. Fire was a relatively recent addition to the human repertoire, and humans, like all animals, evolved on uncooked foods. Laura and I feel that raw foods help to keep us looking younger than we are -- I am actually 87 and Laura is 81. ;-)

(For those of you who don’t know us, JUST KIDDING!)

In our experience, eating all raw can be an effective way to eliminate those mysterious "aches and pains" which can accompany middle age. Most Americans go to the doctor to "heal" them, which actually means, "suppress the symptoms." We feel that the human body is a self-healing organism, and all we need do, in most cases, is feed it the highest-quality food, and be patient. Natural healing takes time. In some cases, water fasting is called for, or juice fasting. For us, an occasional all-raw diet works very well as a healing technique.

Whether or not a person can eat 100% raw all the time is, in our opinion, a matter of personal metabolism. Some people recommend 100% raw, all the time. The Living Foods website offers a wealth of information on raw foods, and links to dozens of other raw food sites.

We both eat 100% raw whenever the situation warrants, but usually we eat cooked food as well, aiming for as many fruits and veggies as possible. For most people, a common-sense diet with whole grains instead of white flour, honey instead of sugar, strict moderation with animal products, and so forth, seems a much saner way to eat than the traditional American "meat and sugar" diet. The proverbial "ounce of prevention" goes a long way in our toxic world.

"Raw food recipe" is sort of a misnomer, since most raw foods need little or no preparation. Consider this one:

Ripe Peach
1. Select ripe peach.
2. Put on bib.
3. Eat.

Nevertheless, here are some of our favorite raw foods "recipes."

Banana Smoothie
Did you know that bananas are an endangered species? Here’s the link:
Our banana smoothies are as delicious as any milkshake, and infinitely healthier.
Blend together:
1. About a cup of water.
2. 2-3 ripe bananas. Whenever possible we buy "overripe" (i.e., ripe) bananas on sale at Lowe’s on N. Main, peel them, and freeze them in plastic bags. Frozen bananas make a cold smoothie that’s a welcome summer treat.
3. 1 tablespoon raw honey from you-know-who. (Laura and I are beekeepers.)
4. Seeds or nut butter. I like to add 1 tablespoon of raw almond butter and 1 tablespoon raw sesame tahini.
Instead of nut butter, Laura likes to grind ½ cup of unhulled sesame seeds in our herb mill before blending them into her smoothie. Unhulled sesame seeds are very rich in calcium. She also sometimes adds any combination of apples, raisins, spirulina, nutritional yeast, molasses (for the iron), and bee pollen (which contains a wide variety of nutrients).

Salad Dressing
1. Soak ½ cup of raw sunflower seeds overnight or for a couple of hours at least. Soaked seeds have started to sprout -- they have been "activated," and many of their nutrients have been enhanced. They are no longer dormant and inert, but living plants. Just add water, wait awhile, and a miracle happens.
2. Rinse seeds, and blend with 1 cup of water.
3. Remove seed and skin from an avocado, and blend with sunflower seeds.
4. Use immediately, unless you don’t mind gray salad dressing.
This is a delicious and highly nutritious addition to any salad. Serves two.

Seed Cheese
We learned this from an Ann Wigmore book. Seed cheese makes a great salad dressing, spread for bread or crackers, or mixed into steamed veggies.
1. Soak 1 cup of seeds overnight. Sunflower seeds make a more mellow cheese. Unhulled sesame seeds contain a lot more calcium, but make a bitter cheese. You can also use almonds or pumpkin seeds, or any combination of seeds.
2. Rinse seeds, and blend together with 1 cup of water and 1 tablespoon yogurt with live acidophilus culture. What works even better is 1/8 teaspoon of "Yogourmet" freeze-dried yogurt starter, available at the Co-op (Mountain View Market).
3. Pour into bowl, and cover loosely.
4. After about 6 hours, the cheese will have floated to the top. Skim this off, and put in a sealed container. Use immediately, or store in refrigerator. It will keep for several days, but is best if used as fresh as possible.

Watermelon Smoothie
Americans eat the watermelon flesh and throw the most nutritious parts away. This is so typically American. Here’s another way to eat a watermelon:
1. Wash outside of watermelon with Dr. Bronner’s soap, and rinse thoroughly.
2. Cut off about a 2" slice, and cut the meat (with seeds) into blender-sized chunks.
3. Put small amount of water into blender, add watermelon meat, and blend.
4. Add skin (which contains valuable chlorophyll) and blend until smooth.
5. You can also blend in compatible ingredients such as apples, bananas, or carrots.
This makes a delicious, alkalinizing summer drink.
Of course you don’t get to spit out the seeds this way, so there’s always that tradeoff to consider.

Blender Salad
This is a raw gazpacho that’s simple to make.
1. Blenderize together, with a little water, any veggies you have at hand: tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, squash, cucumbers, celery, etc.
2. Enjoy!

Veggie Juice
Veggie juice is like blender salad without the pulp. Some people recommend eating the whole vegetable, so that you consume the valuable pulp. But juice has advantages, since it contains the veggie nutrients in concentrated form, and allows you to consume more vegetables than you normally would. Veggie juice is good while juice fasting, or just because it tastes good. It should not be considered a total substitute for veggies unless you are juice fasting. Normally, a combination of both veggies and juice seems like the best policy. We especially like to juice during the summer, because it allows us to keep up with our garden. The past couple of years we haven’t had time to grow our own carrots, so we’ve been buying organic carrots from the co-op (you can special order 25- and 50-pound bags from the produce department). We juice these carrots together with our surplus garden veggies -- spinach and lettuce during late spring; tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and squash during the summer. We also like to add a few weeds and grass to our juice -- but not too much, or the juice tastes too strong.

We use a Green Power juicer, since the low RPMs doesn’t oxidize the juice as much. If you’re just getting started, buy a cheap juicer. Juicing can be a hassle, especially cleaning the juicer afterwards. If you find yourself using your cheap juicer a lot, then it’s time to consider buying a more expensive machine.


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