I would like to know if you have any recommended book about raw food. I started to drink green smoothies from our visit to Lujan in Costa Rica and back in Canada I did a 21-day detox, then I started to diminish my cooked food but I don’t know exactly how to do meals, especially that my husband wants to go with me into raw. I wonder about a good book to have and how to do some week plans for a family.
Great question Melina and I am sure there are many people in the same situation as you. Going raw often means learning a whole new set of food preparation techniques and can involve a major adjustment in your lifestyle in the initial stages.
As far as book recommendations for someone getting started I really like The Raw Food Revolution Diet. This book contains some basic information about the health benefits of a raw food diet as well as practical information on how to get started.
It includes a section on meal planning and six days of menus. All of the meal plans are fairly simple and, with the exception of one day, they do not require a dehydrator. There is also a quick and easy meal plan that is suitable for when you are pressed for time or traveling.
One of the things that I really appreciate about this book is that the recipes are not very high in fat as is the case for many of the raw food recipe books on the market. Often raw food recipes contain a lot of nuts and oils, which can be very difficult to digest and can also lead to weight gain.
In addition the recipes are very easy to prepare and the ones I have tried have all been delicious. The author of the book, Cherie Soria, is a raw food chef and instructor who now teaches others how to be raw food chefs, so she really knows how to make healthy raw food that tastes great.
There are a few dehydrator recipes and since I don’t own one I haven’t tried these, but there are plenty of other recipes that only require simple equipment; a knife, cutting board and blender should be enough to get you started. Some of my favorite recipes in the book are the Caesar Salad, Zucchini Hummus, Vietnamese Salad Rolls and Chocolate Velvet.
If you would like some more variety here are a few other raw food recipe books that I recommend:
Aside from that I can give you a few other tips that might make raw food menu planning easier:
Keep it simple
Don’t try making too many complicated recipes. This will only leave you feeling that the raw food diet is too difficult to maintain as a lifestyle.
It is fine to make a special gourmet meal on the weekends when you have more time but there’s no need to make it a daily event. Simple salads and green smoothies can be the backbone of your diet that ensures you have high quality nutrition that is fast and easy to prepare.
It can be helpful to gather a small collection of ideas for quick and simple meals that you know you can rely on when you are too tired or don’t have the energy to think about what to eat.
Make larger batches of dips, sauces and dressings
If it is your first time with a new recipe it is probably good to try it out first to make sure you like it. But once you find something you enjoy it is helpful to make larger batches of items like dips, sauces and salad dressings so that meal preparation becomes easy.
For example, a dip like raw zucchini hummus can be served with raw veggie sticks and a salad for dinner. Leftovers can be lunch the next day scooped into large lettuce leaves or collard greens with sliced tomato and sprouts. Nut and seed pates will keep for several days in the fridge and these are great inside nori seaweed and rolled up like sushi.
Most salad dressings also have a long life when refrigerated so you may like to prepare one or two batches of dressing on the weekend. Then for weekday meals you just have to chop your salad ingredients and toss with dressing and lunch or dinner is ready in a flash. To make it more of a meal add a side any leftover dip or pate.
Raw marinara sauce on zucchini pasta is a meal that most people enjoy and if you make a large batch of sauce this could last you for several meals during the week. If you are still including cooked foods in your diet you could also use leftover sauce on top of steamed veggies or cooked grains like quinoa or brown rice.
Make sure you keep up your supplies
Keep things on hand that last for a long time such as dried herbs, spices, nuts, seeds, seaweed, sun-dried tomatoes etc. This will give you greater flexibility when you decide you want to prepare a new recipe.
I also recommend buying large quantities of fresh fruit and greens so you always have plenty around for snacks, fruit salad and smoothies. You will find that your idea about the amount of fresh produce you need for the week is going to increase dramatically!
Ideally go shopping twice a week so that your produce is always fresh and appealing. If this is difficult try to use your ripe fruit and tender greens like lettuce early in the week. Sturdier vegetables like celery, cabbage and cucumbers should maintain their freshness at least until the end of the week and apples, pears and citrus fruit also keep well.
If you have very ripe bananas you can chop them and place them in the freezer so that you know you will always have something available to put in your green smoothie. You can also use them to make banana ice cream for a healthy indulgent treat.
Liquid meals are really fast and easy
Green smoothies are extremely nutritious and so simple. Just throw your fruit and greens into the blender and you have a meal. So long as your portion sizes are large enough this should keep you going for several hours. To make a green smoothie more sustaining you can add avocado, soaked chia seeds or coconut.
Even simple salads can take a little time to prepare but blended salads and raw soups are usually much faster. There are a couple of recipes for these in The Raw Food Revolution Diet.
Nut and seed milks can be prepared in the blender by simply putting your nuts or seeds in with some water and sweetener if desired, blending and then straining in a fine sieve or nut milk bag. A combination of hemp and sunflower seed works well and doesn’t require straining, especially if you are using a high-powered blender.
So I hope this helps. The main things to remember are to keep it simple and have fun with it. A meal doesn’t always have to be structured in a traditional sense and you can save a lot of energy by relaxing about the whole process. Often a plate of a selection of fresh fruit and vegetables can be just as enjoyable as a gourmet meal when enjoyed at the peak of freshness and in good company!
PS. Want more ideas about what to eat on a raw food diet?
I offer a 7-day meal plan and delicious recipes in my book, The Raw Food Solution.
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