Sunday, February 28, 2010

Becoming Raw

Now don't freak out. I'm not actually "becoming raw."

But I must admit, I was hoping some folks would read the title and think for a second that I'm giving up fried tofu and butter-soymilk biscuits. Psyche! Don't worry. You can pry cooked vegan foods from my cold dead hands.

I am, however, trying to work more raw meals into my life. I've done away with Raw Food Tuesday, which some of y'all might remember as my monthly all-raw, one-day food cleanse. Instead, I'm trying to work a few mostly raw dinners and lunches into my regular routine ... rather than only eat raw for one day a month. A great resource for this new plan is Becoming Raw: The Essential Guide to Raw Vegan Diets by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina (hence the name of this post).

Becoming Raw is a new resource book/cookbook published by the Book Publishing Company in Summertown, Tennessee. The first 249 pages are purely informational, and I would guess that it may be one of the most exhaustive volumes on raw diets.

Everything you've ever wanted to know about the history of raw foodism, recommended carb and protein intakes, how the body detoxifies, what minerals are in which raw foods, how enzymes work, and hundreds of other topics are in this book. I especially loved the essay on why coconut oil is good for you in moderation despite its high saturated fat content. And the chapter busting raw safety food myths was loaded with interesting trivia. Who knew some people believe raw sprouts could be a potential source of bacteria? That's a myth the authors busted, by the way.

The back half of Becoming Raw contains recipes, a few of which are crossovers from the authors' other cookbook The Raw Food Revolution Diet. Flipping through to pick out a test recipe, I kept coming back to this Pesto and Sundried Tomato Pizza with Veggies:

The crispy, cracker-like "crust" is made from soaked and dehydrated buckwheat groats and sunflower seeds. Italian herbs lend the crust a pizza-like flavor. It's topped with an out-of-this-world sundried tomato sauce (which I think will be my new go-to raw marinara ... so good!) and pesto. For the veggies, I used diced red bell pepper, diced zucchini, grated carrot, and red onion. Those are marinated overnight in a delicious olive oil/vinegar marinade.

Though Becoming Raw doesn't have a ton of recipes, the ones the authors included sound amazing — Coconut Macaroons, Celeriac Linguine with Bolognese Sauce and Hemp Parmesan, Herbed Almond Cheese, Sunflower-Hemp Milk. Sound delicious? Told ya so.

If I ever decided to give up cooked food (don't hold your breath), Becoming Raw would be the source I'd turn to for vital information about maintaining health on a raw or high-raw diet. It's like a freakin' encycolpedia of rawsome-ness.


pixiepine said...

I am working more raw foods in again too. With spring in sight, it is getting more appealing! Today I made this yummy "cheese" sauce and ate it on quinoa and veggies. Yummy!

Raw Cheddar Cheese Sauce

1 cup raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours and rinsed
½ large red bell pepper
¼ cup water
2 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoon nutritional yeast (find this in the bulk section or in condiments…it’s not ‘technically’ raw)
1 tablespoon tahini
1½ teaspoon sea salt
1 clove garlic
2 teaspoon onion powder (or a small slice of onion or 1 Tbsp of green onion)

Blend all ingredients until creamy (a high powered blender works the best…but if you have a regular blender, just blend it for a long time. It should be completely smooth). Add more water if it is too thick.

Tanya said...

I just bought this book last week! Has a lot of good info in it. I too am trying to incorporate more raw foods into my diet (albeit without a vitamix or dehydrator!).

Justin Fox Burks said...

Um. That is not pizza. You know that.

Zucchini Breath said...

Justin, pizza is in the eye of the beholder! :D

Being a raw foodist isn't an all or nothing proposition.


radioactivegan said...

I like zucchini breath's approach. I'm looking to add in some more raw foods, but I do love some cooked stuff. this seems like a good book for a higher raw presence in my diet :)

nora said...

Yum! That book's at home, waiting for me to review too! Will I need a dehydrator, or are there plenty of recipes that don't require one?

Anonymous said...

Phew, is it wrong that I'm glad you're not going raw? It's just that your cooked vegan delights are inspiring. I think it's great that you're working more raw foods in though- that's what I'm trying to do, and cut back on sugar. This winter weather has made me into a sugar fiend! x

Gina said...

I was actually just laying awake in bed thinking about food and how I should start eating more raw.

The Voracious Vegan said...

I love this post! I really enjoy eating lots of raw foods, and have usually one or two raw, or mostly raw meals a day. But I definitely make sure to include lots of whole grains and cooked beans, or else my energy starts to dive.

I can't wait to see what awesome goodies you cook up, or UN-cook up! This raw pizza looks so fresh and beautiful, wish I had some for lunch today!

Vegan TV Presenter said...

So glad you aren't going Raw! Keep those delicious recipes coming! I was raw for years and never made on dish from my dehydrator that was remotely edible...I'm gifted like that...x

Mihl said...

I immediately thought it was about the book and not about you going raw ;)
Thank you for the great review. I have the raw revolution diet and this book sounds very interesting, too. Must give it a try.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I could never stop eating cooked foods, but I do eat a lot of raw stuff. I'm limited though, since I don't have a dehydrator.

There are some really awesome raw dessert recipes online. I'd love to try a raw cake or something.

Mary said...

That pizza looks delicious! I eat a lot of raw meals in the summer, but I just can't get excited about raw veggies in the winter, since they're shipped all the way from Florida and they're floppy by the time I get them home. I do want a dehydrator, though--veggie chips are bomb!

Jess - The Domestic Vegan said...

Wow, awesome!! I didn't know this book existed. I LOVE these authors. "Becoming Vegan" is super awesome, and if I'm not mistaken, these two ladies worked on "The Raw Revolution Diet," which is another favorite book!

Jess - The Domestic Vegan said...

Oh, duh. You totally wrote that these authors worked on "The Raw Food Revolution Diet." Haha. I missed that part! I want this book!

Ricki said...

I love their other books (Becoming Vegetarian and BEcoming Vegan)--such great info and yummy recipes! Sounds like this one is up to par, too. :)

Star in the Universe said...

I have Becoming Vegan! Thanks for posting this, I'm adding it to my list of books!

bespatter said...

I think the reason why many people think that sprouts harbor food-born bacteria is because people have gotten sick from eating store-bought sprouts, but you know, when already fragile sprouts travel a few hundred miles and come into contact with many other types of produce it's possible that they can becomes infected. However, when you grow you own, the risk of food-born illness is practically zero. Dude, and it's so much cheaper!

Erin said...

I guess it's the time of year for everyone to lighten up a little :) I bought The Raw Food Revolution Diet based on a few positive mentions from you. So far I've only tried the liquid gold salad dressing, and it's kind of amazing.

book publishing company said...

I like zucchini breath's approach. I'm looking to add in some more raw foods, but I do love some cooked stuff. this seems like a good book for a higher raw presence in my diet :)