Eating Raw + Chocolate avocado mousse + Orange fennel salad
Hello my lovely readers! I wanted to start off with a big thank you to all of you who left such heartfelt comments on my last post. I’m really glad to be back to blogging and trust me, I’ve got more ideas than ever that I want to share with everyone!
Today, I wanted to share my love of eating “raw”. No, no – I’m not a raw foodist, but I do enjoy learning about new ways of eating healthy and eating raw foods is one of the easiest ways to do that. In this post, I’ll share my experience, a few of my own raw recipes and some of my favourite online resources and guides to incorporating raw foods into your diet with ease. Read on..
I first heard about raw foodism last year when I started blogging in the spring. Before that, I didn’t even know that it even existed. Isn’t it amazing how you get introduced to so many new ideas and techniques through blogs?? Anyways, at that point, eating raw was an entirely foreign concept to me that I didn’t feel all that intrigued by, so I didn’t really look into it too much. I kind of forgot about it for a while. It wasn’t until I came across the site, Nature Insider, that raw food really piqued interest. Earlier, I thought raw food was “boring” and wasn’t something I could realistically incorporate into my daily routine. But Nadia’s site really opened up my perspective on raw foods. Not only are her recipes easy to follow, they are absolutely gorgeous!
With a little inspiration from Nadia and a few other amazing raw food bloggers, I’ve been incorporating more raw meals into my diet over the last few months. I have to say that eating raw 100% of the time isn’t something I can do or even want to do because it’s not something that works for me. I love eating my curries, soups and more, but I am definitely keen on eating raw at least a few times a week. There are so many benefits of eating this way that it makes sense to at least try it out, if not embrace it…
I’ve realized that raw recipes are usually easy to make, take hardly any time and can be just as satisfying.
One of the biggest benefits of raw food is that it’s so light and refreshing that you’ll actually feel energized after eating. If you want to say goodbye to afternoon slumps, try a raw lunch. Eating raw is also a great way to add more fruits and veggies to your diet. We all know that we should be eating more of those, but realistically it’s tough. I have a lot of trouble meeting my 5-10 servings a day of fruits and veggies, but eating raw definitely brings me one step closer to my goal since most of the recipes emphasize the use of natural whole foods. But for me, the thing that takes the cake about raw food is the added bonus of not having to wash pots and after making a meal. When you’re not in the mood of cooking or cleaning up after, just try making a raw meal. I do it all the time when I’m feeling like a lazy girl!
Benefits of eating raw
The benefits I shared with you above are from my own experience, but there are plenty of other benefits (more scientific ones might I add!) that make it worth your while to experiment with raw cuisine.
* Better nutrition – The heat of cooking depletes vitamins and can destroy enzymes that benefit digestion. By eating raw, you’ll preserve most of the nutritive value of the foods you’re eating.
Note: Although I agree that eating raw foods means you’re likely to get better nutritive value from them, I have to point out that certain compounds are better absorbed in their cooked state. For example, lycopene is better absorbed from cooked tomatoes than raw. So I like to eat both cooked and raw foods to achieve that balance. Also note that if you have thyroid issues, it’s best to avoid goitrogenic (goitre-causing) foods such broccoli, cabbage and kale in their raw form. Cooking these foods can help reduce their goitrogenic activity.
* Less free radical damage - The process of cooking creates free radicals, which are known to accelerate aging and can cause disease. Incorporating raw foods can reduce the total amount free radicals you’re ingesting.
* More fibre - Eating raw focuses heavily on eating whole foods such as vegetables, fruits and nuts, which are all good sources of dietary fibre. Did you know that the average North American consumes less than 50% of his/her recommended intake of fibre? If you’re keen in increasing your fibre intake without resorting to all those high-fibre proccessed foods, try a raw meal.
* Less time-consuming - Most raw recipes can be made in less than 20 minutes because there’s no cooking time.
Note: A few recipes do require a dehydrator to “bake” foods at a lower temperature and this can become a time consuming process. But it’s not something that you’ll need as a raw food newbie. I don’t own one (yet!), but I’m open to trying it out soon..
My go -to raw food resources
Experimenting with anything different is difficult at first because you’re outside of your comfort zone. I found inspiration in a number of raw food blogs and books. I’ve shared a few of my favourites here:
1. Blog: Nature Insider – Nadia is a holistic nutritionist with a passion for raw food. She even has her own e-book (which I had reviewed a few months ago – review is here) that has 99 pages of easy-to-follow recipes that are perfect for someone just starting their raw food journey.
My favourite recipe: Raw Chocolate Cake
2. Blog: Rawmazing – Susan created her blog to help people transition from the Standard American Diet to the world of healthy, tasty world of raw food. Her recipes are highly creative! Almost like having a gourmet raw food chef by your side…
My favourite recipe: Thai Style Noodles and Veggies
3. Book: Practically Raw – Amber Shea’s book is my go-to resource for raw recipes. I tried the vegetable korma recipe from the book on a recent trip to India and everyone loved it so much that I ended buying the book for my dad and my sister. The recipes are not strictly raw, they are flexible. So if you want to make a cooked version of something, you can. The flexibility of the recipes makes it a really good beginners guide to raw “cooking”.
My own raw recipes
I’ve been experimenting with quick and easy raw recipes for a while and even included a few raw recipes in my spring magazine. Since these recipes aren’t on my blog yet, I wanted to share two of my favourites – spiced chocolate avocado mousse and orange fennel salad.
This spiced chocolate avocado mousse is inspired by the warm earthy flavours of India. You can enjoy the mousse without the spices or with the addition of chili pepper, cardamom and cinnamon.
- 2 ripe avocados
- 4.5 tbsp raw cacao powder
- 4 tbsp honey or maple syrup
- few tablespoons nut milk
- big pinch of chili powder
- ⅛ tsp cardamom powder
- ¼ tsp cinnamon powder
- raspberries for garnish
- Remove the flesh from the avocado and toss into a blender.
- Add the cocoa powder, honey and spices to the blender and mix well on high-speed. Add some milk/dairy alternative to achieve the desired consistency.
- Taste and add additional honey/spices if required.
- Chill for 10 minutes in the freezer.
- Garnish with raspberries prior to serving.
The orange and fennel salad was inspired by the bright citrus flavours of the Mediterranean. It’s paired with almonds and an orange-mint dressing to add crunch and brighten the flavour.
- 1 small fennel bulb, fronds and stems removed
- 2 seedless oranges
- 2 tbsp slivered almonds
- 4 tbsp orange juice
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp honey (or your choice of liquid sweetener)
- 6 mint leaves, chopped finely
- Using a mandoline, shave the fennel as thinly as possible. Toss into a medium-sized bowl.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the top and bottom off the oranges to expose the flesh. Stand the orange upright, and begin to remove the peel with the knife. Follow the contours of the orange and remove all the white pith.
- Then slice the peeled orange crosswise into ¼-inch-thick rounds. Collect any juices for the dressing.
- Prepare the dressing by mixing all ingredients well.
- Plate the salad by laying the orange slices on a bed of fennel. Pour the dressing on top. Sprinkle with toasted slivered almonds.
Question of the day: Do you enjoy incorporating raw meals into your diet? If so, what has your experience been?