Thursday, March 7, 2013

Raw Vegan 101: Preparing Easy, Healthy, Damn Delicious Living Meals

You want to eat and prepare food that's healthy, easy, simple, and damn delicious. Raw vegan uncooking goes to the next level: it's anti-aging, healing, and detoxifying! I've decided to share raw vegan recipes exclusively on Thrift Core for good reason! Consider me a passionate advocate. Let's discuss why we should incorporate more raw in our lives:

Part One)  What is Raw Vegan Food? 

Q: What is a "Raw Vegan"? I'm scared and possibly disgusted. 
Don't let the "raw" part intimidate you! A raw vegan's diet consists of fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts. Most raw food is unheated but can be heated (usually in a dehydrator) up to 118 degrees Fahrenheit. Meat, eggs, dairy, and animal-based products are not eaten on a raw vegan diet.

Q: Will eating raw vegan food make me sick? 
Highly doubtful. You've eaten lots of raw vegan food without issue: salads, guacamole, salsa- all fundamentally raw. Just think of it as a different way to get more whole, unprocessed fruits and veggies into your diet!

Q: Why don't Raw Vegans heat their food? 
Raw Vegan foods are also called "living foods" because they're still alive (!) and teaming with enzymes! Research shows a percentage of enzymes and nutrients are destroyed when food is heated to over 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Sounds corny but when you eat food that's alive, you're more alive!

Q: Can I lose a lot of weight on a raw vegan diet?
Not necessarily. Most people that switch to a diet of mostly plant based foods will experience initial weight loss, but you still have to balance what you eat. The numbers on the scale creep back up when I indulge in too many raw chocolates and pies just like it would when I'd have the cooked versions, but not as dramatically. (Bonus: raw deserts rock because they digest easy, provide nutrients, and help you feel healthy because they're made from plants based foods rather than refined sugar and flour.) 

Q: Where do you get your protein on a raw vegan diet?
Nuts and seeds are rich is protein, minerals, and omegas. Many fruits and vegetables have ample protein as well. Something to consider: we don't need as much protein as is often taught. Too much protein is detrimental- source. And another good one here.

 Are you 100% raw vegan? 
I'm about 98% raw vegan. I travel, go out, and receive food from friends. I'll make certain exceptions for cultural and social experiences. You don't have to be 100% raw to feel and see a difference!

Part Two)  How Do You Prepare Raw Vegan Food? 

Raw recipes can be just as time intensive and complex as cooked ones, the creativity involved is addictive! I typically mix mine up salad style and blend delicious pâtés, soups, and dressings with my trusty vitamix blender. You can make raw version of everything: soup, sandwiches, smoothies, salad, cookies, pie, candy, sky's the limit!
Essential Tools include:

Blending: Blender (usually a vitamix or blentec), Food Processor, Citrus juicer, Juicer (machine), Blixer
Slicing: spiralizer, mandolin slicer, peeler, good slicing knives, cutting board
Food Prep: funnel, grater, strainer, measuring cups and spoons, dehydrator, mixing bowls, nut milk bags
Utensils: whisk, spatulas, tongs, ice cream scooper, ladel, mixing spoons

Part Three)  So Tell Me About Those Health Benefits! 

Guess the ages of the three beautiful raw vegan authors and advocates below. Got your guesses down?

Alright, the reveal!: 1) Ani Phyo: 45 3) Annette Larkins: 70 (!) 3) Mimi Kirk: 72 (!!!) Witches! Vampires! Aaah!

Mimi and are Annette nearly three times my age and they would easily beat me in a swimsuit competition. The proof abounds, the abundance of enzymes and nutrients in raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds alkalize your body. It's literally anti-aging food!

I will continue to write on the science behind raw vegan eating, tools and techniques, and of course, with more delicious recipes. When I slip from eating mostly raw plant based foods I see and feel the difference immediately: I gain weight, lose energy, and my complexion looks dull. Eating raw keeps me energetic, lean, and happy! I never feel deprived, my skin glows, and it's creatively fulfilling and environmentally friendly. I want you to feel the same way and incorporate a few of the simple, healthy, and delicious raw recipes I share into your life. Increase yo fruit and veggie intake, you will feel the difference! I promise.
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  1. Those women do look amazing. Certainly makes you think!

    1. It's definitely food (ha!) for thought. So many older raw vegans do look damn radiant, healthy, and youthful.

  2. Wow Im impressed! They look so young. I definitely want to try eating more raw food now. Health has become so much more important to me as I get older...and I can always use more energy.

    1. Do it, lady! We'll have to arrange raw uncooking parties sometime, it'll be fun :)

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. Thanks for the info! I recently went on vacation and had fresh cucumber-celery-pineapple-orange juice every morning from the juicer! It felt like magic!

    1. Yum! I'll have to try making one of those, sounds amazingly delicious :D And I think I've got all those ingredients on-hand.

  5. Do raw vegans drink things like hot coffee and tea?

    1. Some do, some don't. I do! Haha, love my tea :) I drink it warm, not hot. Most I know will try different types of health-promoting warm herbal infusions and/or probiotic-filled kombucha fermented tea drinks, but stay clear of caffeinated tea and coffee.

  6. Thanks for sharing your raw vegan lifestyle, Vanessa. I have been fascinated with raw foods ever since Roxanne Klein came onto the scene with her cookbook and restaurant. But I must say that while I have been interested in this type of eating, my exposure to raw foods has been limited. I guess I feel a bit intimidated by the preparation process. But living in the San Francisco Bay Area, there is a growing number of raw restaurants to try. Guess it's time for me to step out and be adventurous!

    BTW, I am reading the book, "Stand Facing the Stove," a biography about the mother-daughter team behind the "Joy of Cooking" cookbook. What's fascinating is that even back then in the 1940's, health food advocates, who were considered out on the fringe in their beliefs, were preaching the virtues of a raw diet and were warning about the hazards of mass food production and processing. I guess things have come full circle!

    1. We often discuss the "full-circle" thing at the raw kitchen where I work part time. More and more people are coming back to unprocessed food because they're sick of being sick. I forgot to touch on that in this post, raw food is the solution to many American issues, like chronic headaches and bad skin. It's not the pills we're taking that helps, we have to address what we're eating!

      One reason I went back to an all whole-foods (not raw at first) diet was because I had a breakout that wouldn't go away for over a year. It was cured within a few days of eating salads, fish, and berries. I see a change in diets work wonders for myself and others so I can't help but advocate it! :)

    2. I hear you, Vanessa. I know so many people (including myself) who have developed food allergies to one thing or another. It's incredible how frequently this happens. I have friends who cannot eat a certain food here in this country, but when they go overseas, they can eat it with no problem. I guess it also comes down to how we treat/handle/process our foods, too. With all this talk about GMO's, it's no wonder people do develop allergies to foods they once ate and loved.

  7. How do you feel about Yerba mate? I love mate and have recently gone raw vegan.

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  10. Hi,
    Mindblowing post! Love It Dear, As an regular reader I did not comment as far way, However, This post make me enjoyable and made my day. Since the morning I was bore in my cooking. The reason was a blender. I have a blender that had a problem so that I can't cook properly. As a mentor of mine please suggest me a best vitamix blender

  11. thanks for your valuable post. I might sharing with my friend again thanks you. Juicer List

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