Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Not-So-Raw Food Detox

When I was offered a review copy of Ulrika Davidson's new Raw Food Detox cookbook, I figured it would be loaded with wholesome, totally raw recipes. I need more raw cookbooks in my life. Sure, I consider myself a junk food vegan at times, but I like to balance out my naughty eating with raw food every once in awhile. On occasion (usually in January), I get all crazy and go on a raw cleanse.

But I was surprised when Davidson's full-color book arrived. Sure, there are occasional raw recipes, like her Currant and Almond Milk Smoothie (on my must-try list!) and her Sweet Potato Pie with Guacamole and Tomatoes (the sweet potato crust is dehydrated). But the majority of the recipes in Raw Food Detox aren't raw at all.

There are recipes for Rice Salad (made with cooked brown and wild rice and fried broccoli), Fruity Quinoa Salad with Mint Pesto (made with cooked quinoa), and Falafel Lettuce Wraps (made with fried chickpea falafel). I mean, all of that sounds delicious and all, and the glossy pictures of these dishes are mouth-watering. But that's not what I'd consider raw. Also, many of the recipes contain cheese, like feta, goat cheese, and halloumi. Maybe the book should have been called Whole Food Detox or Healthy Food Detox.

In her introduction, Davidson says that she includes boiled legumes, rice, quinoa, roasted root veggies, and cheese in her mostly raw diet because she thinks some food tastes better when boiled, baked, or roasted at temperatures higher than the 107 degrees that rigid raw foodists swear by. And that's cool. I totally agree with that (except the cheese part). Just call your book something else, so it's not misleading.

Anyway, I'd hoped to find one raw recipe to make for this review. I had my sights set on a couple, but I just kept coming back to the scrumptious-looking picture for Rice Noodles with Coconut Milk. So that's what I made:

With its cooked broccoli, baby corn, snap peas, carrots, onions, garlic and boiled rice noodles, this dish was far from raw. But it was still delicious as all hell. The coconut milk is seasoned with ginger and red curry paste, which is really one of the best combos on earth. Plus, after I did some calculations, I found out that this dish is extremely low in calories. Bonus! I served this with some bok choy sauteed with olive oil, soy sauce, mirin, and sriracha.

Would I recommend Raw Food Detox? Sure, if you're not actually looking for raw food. The photos are brilliant, and the dishes are all uber-healthy. Those that contain cheese can easily be made vegan by leaving it out or substituting a simple tofu feta. But if you're looking for a totally raw book, this isn't it.


Babette said...

Are you sure the printer did get the right title?! I would be very upset if I got that book, because as you say, one would expect a raw food cookbook, and no cheese at all, obviously.

Barb@ThatWasVegan said...

The dish you made looks wonderful, but I definitely see your point about how "raw" the book actually is...

xvavaveganx said...

That dish you made looks delicious. I would be kind of bummed if I got that book thinking it would be raw recipes though. It should be called Clean Food Detox or something. The recipes still sound delicious and healthy though!

Unknown said...

The recipes still sound delicious and healthy though! thanks for sharing your dish you know, just try it. food and recipe books

Misae Richwoods said...

Hey Bianaca,

This kind of stuff happens a lot. I recall buying a book called 'Raw Food, Real World'. It's full of color saturated 'food porn' style photos and I thought it would be perfect to spruce up my noms life. As it turns out, yes the food is raw (save a few condiments). But real world? I can't remember the last time I had like 3 days spare to prepare dinner!

In the sense that these books help bring people towards a healthier lifestyle, I'm all behind them. But for those of us already in these habits - which must be a substantial part of their buyers - I wish they'd just be a bit more accurate with their titles.

Best raw book title (and one of the best reads) to date IMHO - 'Blantant raw foodist propaganda'! What can't the recipe books be as forthcoming and as honest as that?!