Monthly Archives: April 2013

Going Raw – The Greens

Going Raw - the greens 001I begin my raw diet tomorrow. Today I bought greens enough to last us until Monday, I hope. These are all organic, bought them at Dad’s Organic Grocery. One black kale, one green kale, one collard green, two leaf lettuces, one romaine lettuce and one cilantro. I’ll be adding in lots of other vegetables as well, like sprouts, carrots, avocados, onion, peppers and zucchini, but the leafy greens form the core of the raw food diet. These greens are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, iron, anti-cancer phytochemicals and even, if you eat enough of them, protein. Rotating greens is very important, since they all offer different nutritional benefits, and some of them have a slight action against the thyroid or interfere with calcium absorption. In fact, it is my plan to have lots of variety in all the foods I eat. God made them all unique and with specific nutritional values.

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Going Raw – The Plan

I have only three days to go until my month of eating raw starts. I have been busy preparing some raw food ahead of time such as dehydrated Tamari almonds, dehydrated kale chips and today I have a few racks of flax seed crackers in the dehydrator. I made my first ever nut cheese, it doesn’t taste exactly like cheese, but it still quite good. I have also started some bean sprouts. In order to make this as easy as possible, I have been reading my books and making a plan. Here is the plan so far:

Breakfast – A large green smoothie with frequent changes of types of leafy greens between kale, bok choy, romaine, parsley, mint, cabbage, and any others that aren’t too bitter , fruit such as bananas, berries, mango, pear etc and a tablespoon or so of chia, flax or hemp seeds, rotating the types of seeds.

Lunch – A large leafy salad with other raw vegs added, seeds such as pumpkin or sunflower sprinkled on, avocado, peppers, cucumber and possibly other vegs and when I am tired of salads a seed or nut pate or “cheese” with raw vegs and flax seed crackers. Fruit for dessert.

Supper – I would like this to be a more creative meal something like raw zucchinni pasta, raw vegan sushi, dehydrated seed or nut burgers etc. Dessert may be something a little sweet with dates or other fruit, coconut, nuts

Snacks – almond “milk”, sunflower hemp “milk”, Tamari almonds, kale chips, raw cookies

I already know what is going to be hard for me. I won’t miss meat, but I will miss starch, such as oatmeal, brown rice, bread, and the occasional…. ummm…. less healthy treat. My desire for starchy or sweet carbohydrates usually kicks in about 8 pm in the evening. I want to break the habit because it is not a healthy time of the day to eat these types of foods. I want to snack on a piece of fruit or some seeds and feel satisfied. My concern is about raising insulin levels during the night, and promoting belly fat, which is a risk factor for insulin resistance and eventually diabetes. There was a time when I never snacked in the evening, but it is now a hard habit to break! The other thing that will be a challenge is eating enough greens. In the book “Becoming Raw” the authors advise 600 grams of leafy vegetables a day. 600 grams! That is two of the large cello packs of salad a day! I would have trouble eating that in a week! Besides, I only shop once a week, and I don’t have enough room to store it all in the fridge… and while I want to experience all the benefits of a raw diet this cleanse and transition also has to be about what is realistic for me in terms of time and money. Here is how I made the vegan “cheese” today:

Vegan “cheese”

1 cup of cashew pieces soaked in water for four hours
1/2 lemmon
4 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
2 Tbsp fresh chopped dill
2 Tbsp fresh chopped parsley
pinch of sea salt

Blend until creamy in food processor. Serve on dehydrated flax crackers or use as a dip for raw vegetables.

Going Raw – the books

Going Raw - the books 001I have been researching raw food vegan diet for the last couple of years. In just seven days, I will take the plunge and eat nothing but raw vegan foods for 1 month. In preparation for that, I have been reading lots of books. These will be my core five books to use during the cleanse. If you are interested in purchasing any of them, my affiliate link with Amazon will follow the book descriptions.

1. “Becoming Raw” by Brenda Davis, RD and Vesanto Melina, MS, RD – This book contains the science behind the raw food diet (as well as a few great recipes). Initially I was thrown off by the fact that these two women are registered dietitians. I always think of dietitians in relation to developing the Canada Food Guide and supporting currently acceptable nutritional norms such as eating whole wheat bread and drinking lots of skim milk. Then I read their credentials and realized they are eminently qualified to write about a vegan diet. They write about the history of the raw food movement, compare nutritional positives and negatives of eating raw, and give timely advice on how to avoid possible nutritional pitfalls. This is a must have for those who “want to do it right”.

2. “Raw Food Made Easy” by Jennifer Cornbleet – This is a lovely go to book for plunging right into the raw food diet, even if you haven’t yet bought a dehydrator, high speed blender, mandolin, nut milk bag, or any other fancy equipment. All you need to make these recipes is a normal blender, a food processor and a sharp knife. The recipes are easy, the results delicious and shopping and staple lists are provided so you can begin right away. I will be relying heavily on this book for the month.

3. “Rainbow Green Live-Food Cuisine” by Gabriel Cousens, MD – Dr. Cousens is one of the masters of the raw food universe, and his book has his own unique style. He believes that cooked food composts in the body and is the cause of all illness. This is not my belief, and I can’t find any good research, either, to support his claims. There are tons of recipes in this book, many taken from the “Tree of Life cafe” . Some are simple, and some take days to prepare, using all the fancy raw equipment mentioned above. I may be trying some of the more simple recipes here since I have no time for hours of fuss. Still, it is a classic tome for raw food vegans and may inspire you.

4.”The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook” by Alissa Sergersten and Tom Malterre, MS,CN – Although not a raw food cookbook, this book and the one that follows are gluten-free, use only whole natural foods and contain many raw food or raw food adaptable recipes. I love these authors. I first heard Tom Malterre speak at a naturopathic convention a number of years ago, and was very impressed. Both he and his wife are graduates of the Bastyr University nutrition program, and their advanced nutritional knowledge shows through on every page of their books. This book contains a 28 day elimination diet, many tips about using whole foods and lots of recipes.

5. “Nourishing Meals”, by Alissa Sergersten and Tom Malterre, MS, CN – The eagerly awaited second cookbook by this couple. Even more fermented recipes. A focus on kid-friendly recipes (tried and tested on their own children), and lots of very simple, delicious recipes. True disease prevention starts with good nutrition. I would not want to be without these two books regardless of what type of diet I was following.

Going Raw

raw 012

I am doing a raw vegan cleanse for the month of May. You are welcome to read my posts, but please do not copy what I am doing unless you have checked with your health care provider first. Do not attempt this cleanse if you are pregnant or a child. It is also not a good idea if you are on prescription medications, are obese, or suffer from serious health problems as the detoxification occurring on a cleanse such as this could overwhelm your organs of elimination, causing serious health problems.

Although I start the cleanse on May 1st,  I decided to purchase a batch of raw seeds and nuts before the start date. Frankly, I am very used to cooked food and the thought of nothing but raw green smoothies and salads is a little terrifying! I do have some raw recipes that use nuts and seeds in lieu of grain and dairy, so I will be relying on these to take care of any cravings.

I have searched local stores for raw nuts before, and they are sometimes available, but the costs are prohibitive. Organic flax, chia and hemp are easy to find locally and are likely the same price or cheaper than ordering online. In the interests of saving time, I did include these in this initial order.

The company I ordered from is “Real Raw Food” in B.C. The web site is: http://www.realrawfood.com/ It took three days from the time I placed the order to its arrival at my door, which I think is amazing.  Here is what I ordered, it is all raw and organic:

2 lbs Medjool dates
1 lb Hazelnuts
1 lb Walnuts
2 lbs Cashews
2 lbs Brazil nuts
1 lb Pecans
2 lobs Pumpkin seeds
3 lbs Sunflower seeds
2 lbs Almonds
1 Almond butter
1 lb Almond meal
1 lb Chia seeds
2 lbs Flax seeds
1 lb Hemp nuts

Total cost including shipping $238.76