THERE’S MORE TO LIFE THAN SALADS!
By Cherie Soria
When I first became a vegetarian, everyone asked, “Where do you get your protein?” Later on, when I went vegan, people wanted to know, “How do you get your calcium?” Now, if I say I eat raw foods, everyone says, “Don’t you get tired of salads?”
I love salads; salads with tender young greens and salads with no greens at all; salads with raw sweet corn and salads with crisp shredded Jerusalem artichokes; sprouted legume salads and sprouted grain salads. I love fruit salads and salads of tomatoes, olives, and fresh herbs. But if salads were all there was to a raw food diet, it might indeed become boring.
Fortunately, nature’s diet – one consisting primarily of uncooked foods – is varied, innovative and delicious, as well as healthful and rejuvenating. A natural, raw food diet offers easy-to-make nut and seed cheeses, which can be used for everything from sweetened cream cheese frosting and creamed soups to savory dips, spreads and sauces. Even pasta and lasagna can be enjoyed raw using finely julienned zucchini or thinly sliced eggplant in place of processed noodles. Sprouted grain pilafs, date-walnut scones and sprouted grain crackers are a few examples of the unlimited variety of grain dishes which can be made simply, without cooking. Even ethnic foods, like hummus, falafels and burritos can be prepared “in the raw.”
Of course, preparing these gourmet delights requires a change in thinking and a large dose of creativity. On the other hand, most of these delectable creations are as easy or easier to make than their cooked counterparts – and there won’t be any dirty pots and pans to clean! In fact, if you don’t like cooking, expanding your raw foods repertoire may be the way to go. If you love to spend time in the kitchen and create new, delicious treats for friends and family, then you will definitely enjoy this new cuisine. And, if you want to experience better health and increased vitality, you’ll appreciate the rejuvenating benefits of raw living foods.
Cherie Soria is an internationally known vegetarian cook, living foods instructor, lecturer, and food columnist who has assisted thousands of peope in becoming more aware of the effect food has on their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well being. Recipies mentioned here may be found in Cherie’s book Angel Foods: Healthy Recipes for Heavenly Bodies. Cherie can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or (707) 964-2420.
by Elysa Markowitz
Seven years ago, if you asked me what I thought raw foods were, I would have said salad. In fact, for most people, raw does only mean salad, or perhaps sushi. Since then I have learned so much about how to prepare uncooked food. One gem of wisdom I discovered early on is don’t eliminate, substitute. So, rather than feeling deprived by taking out the foods that I loved, I began a journey translating my Beverly Hills gourmet Jewish culinary background into that of a gourmet living foods cuisine.
It’s been a rewarding journey. Texture has translated into grating, blending and juicing, and many other nuances of changing the presentation of food. For example, making a nut fluffy by blending pecans with dates and putting it in the dehydrator creates pecan mousse. I enjoy this dish as a warmed breakfast pudding on chilly mornings, and as a desert in the summer months. Also, I can take that same nut – a pecan – and make a creamy pate by blending more vegetables into the “batter,” or a crunchy patty, by adding finely minced vegetables.
In the morning, using my blender, juicer and sprouting jars, a whole new world of beakfast foods has replaced my former diet. Now, my choices include a wide array of fresh fruits blended to pefection with sprouted nuts and flax, sesame, sunflower, or pumpkin seeds. And my desire for grains is satisfied with sprouted, blended (smooth or crunchy) kamut, wheat, oats, barley, millet, or quinoa.
Even though my diet sometimes reaches over 95 percent raw, I still lead a life that allows me to eat out with non-raw friends without putting them on the defensive about their eating habits. When I was starting to eat raw, one of my friends who also ate raw was adamant that eating cooked foods meant going straight to hell – what a delightful thought. He would lecture others about what they were eating, and it really put people off. In contrast, I believe that enjoying the differences among people is an important challenge in life, and that loving ourselves, learning to listen, and transitioning ourselves from a possibly unhealthy diet to one that better agrees with us, is more important than the foods that enter our bodies. Eating a meal with someone who makes food choices completely unllike mine is fine with me. As the saying goes, “it’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you, but what comes out of it.”
When I eat at restaurants, I enjoy a wide variety of both cooked and raw foods. I prefer vegan cuisine, and most restaurants will at least make a salad and pasta primavera with pesto and very lightly steamed vegetables. At Mexican restaurants, I usually order a tostada with mainly raw ingredients – salsa, guacamole and romaine lettuce – and then a bit of cooked beans or rice on the bottom.
Joy is simplicity, and eating can simply be fun when it’s uncomplicated. So whether or not all raw is the issue, more raw can be included with ease and delight – and the fuss and bother of cooking can be eliminated when you want to enjoy it as nature’s gift to us all.
Elysa Markowitz is a lecturer and health educator. She is the author of several
books, including Living with Green Power: A Gourmet Collection of Living Foods
Recipes (Alive, 1997) and Warming Up to Living Foods. Elysa also created and
stars in “The Raw & Wild Food Show” on TV. She can be contacted at email@example.com or (760) 251-7488