I’ve always loved cookbooks. They are like the ancestors of Pinterest. I can spend hours and hours looking through them and planning perfect meals. Instead of pinning, I use scraps of paper to mark my favorite recipes. My favorite cookbooks have lots and lots of pictures. I’ve noticed that I rarely make a recipe if there isn’t a picture. How the heck do I know if I got it right if there isn’t a picture?
I received three new cookbooks for Christmas as gifts. Each book is beautiful and full of
lots of information. Many cookbooks have sections in them that are much like mini cooking lessons. They have tips and techniques that are really helping me to continue to get Real Food to the table each night. I also learn quite a bit about new foods and even nutrition from reading cookbooks. Raw Food for Everyone by Alissa Cohen is a fantastic read. I haven’t decided to switch to a completely Raw diet, but the health benefits are fascinating. I do like to eat the most nutrient dense food that I can find so I’ve decided to incorporate many of Alissa’s recipes into my family’s meals. Shhh……….don’t tell my family they are good for them.
So what is Raw Food?
Seems like a simple answer right? It is food that is not cooked, but like everything in the food world, nothing is ever that simple. For the sake of this post, I am going to keep it real simple and then expand on it in future posts. Alissa says that “Raw and living foods are alkaline-rich foods that contain enzymes. Heating food over 112* F destroys those enzymes.” She says that Raw and living foods have significantly more nutrition than cooked food. “They are filled with living energy, raw vitality, and unlimited health benefits.” Nuts, seeds, and grains are considered raw and have enzymes that are dormant. Once they are soaked in water they sprout which makes these enzymes active. Staples of raw food include fruits, vegetables, and sprouts.
A few keys to incorporating more Raw and living foods into your diet……………
1. Be prepared to shop differently. You will need to buy a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Don’t think about buying a small bunch of bananas. Think about buying several bunches or even whole cases.
2. Prepare foods in advance to make things easier when you are hungry. Clean your lettuce greens, chop veggies, make salad dressing………..maybe even make a fruit salad.
3. Be prepared to eat more. When you grow up thinking of fruits and vegetables as side dishes, you may be hesitant to eat them in entree portions. If you were to cook down lettuce greans (not that you would do that eating Raw) you would have a small amount of food. Think about large salads and not little side salads.
4. Don’t be afraid of the healthy fats. They are full of nutrition including antioxidants and oils that help the joints, nerves, and bones. I’ve never known anyone to get fat eating avocados and nuts.
5. Don’t worry about protein. Alissa says that amino acids create protein in your body.
The best sources of amino acids are leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, and chard.
Alissa warns that once you start a Raw Food diet your body will go through a detoxification process. I felt the same symptoms of detoxification when I switched to a Real Food diet. I remember thinking……..”What the heck?!” If this healthy food is supposed to make you feel so good, why am I feeling so bad? The symptoms never got too bad for me (especially since I started out feeling so bad), but they did come and go for several weeks. Headaches, acne, rashes, colds, and fever are all common. Don’t freak out. It is the body’s way of getting rid of all those horrible things in your body. It means that your body is cleansing and healing itself.
Don’t be afraid of the detoxification process. The end result is that you will feel younger and more vibrant than ever before. Raw Food can also be simple and quick prep which is perfect when you are Juggling Real Food and Real Life. A handful of nuts make for a quick on-the-go breakfast. A salad with lots of vegetables and fruits is a quick lunch. A couple of my favorite Raw recipes are Easy Homemade Hummus and Banana Soft serve. They are so good that you forget they are good for you.
Have you ever heard of the Raw and living food diet before? Do you have a favorite Raw Food diet? I would love to hear about your Raw Food experiences. I would love to include your recipes in a future post and my family’s meals.
Thank you for all of the love and support. Don’t forget you can join us on Facebook for more fun and support along the way. You can also follow us on Twitter @Jugglngrealfood if you are interested in learning more about the Real Food Movement. You can also follow our boards on Pinterest.