New Leaf Market has a plethora of wholesome, healthy foods that support many diets. In recent years, Coastside residents have become aware of the nutritional benefits of raw foods diets. From cooking classes taught by chef Jenny Brewer gives local residents creative ideas to serve raw foods dishes that the whole family will enjoy.
If you are unfamiliar with raw foods, read on for insights from this article in our archives that will answer many of your questions.
Going Raw: A raw food primer
by Liz Hamill Scott
July 1, 2010 — Raw food dieting — once the province of the fringiest of hippie groups — is gaining popularity and going gourmet. It’s not all nuts and berries anymore — raw food can mean everything from a 15-ingredient super-salad to a plate of prime sashimi to a luscious raw cheesecake.
So what is raw food, exactly?
Raw food, according to folks who eat raw food diets, is any food that has not been heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit. (Some raw foodies prefer to keep it to 104 degrees.)
So your average green dinner salad with an herbal vinaigrette dressing is raw food — you’re off to a great start!
Many proponents of raw food are vegan as well, eating only plant-based foods. That means lots of organically grown vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, dried fruits, seeds and sprouted grains. For flavor, raw foodies use cold-pressed oils, vinegars, herbs, spices and mustard. Chefs at raw vegan restaurants dream up amazing dishes that don’t require fierce heat to put out fierce flavors.
Raw-leaning omnivores are finding more variety all the time. Some raw foodies have begun playing with raw dairy products: cow’s milk, goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, cheeses, creams, butters, eggs — things that can be turned into delectable treats like raw chocolate mousse.
Even red meats and fish make it into some raw food diets. Standard sushi doesn’t make the grade — the rice is cooked. But sashimi is raw; ceviche is, too. Even carpacchio — super-thin sliced raw red meat — and steak tartare qualify as raw foods.
Oh, and cacao can be eaten raw too. That means raw chocolate!
What’s good about raw food?
Lots of things are great about raw food. Proponents point to increased nutrition, anti-aging properties and weight loss as great benefits of raw food diets. According to pro-raw nutrition experts, it’s all about the enzymes. Heating foods to typical cooking temperatures destroys many of the enzymes they come by naturally, which may diminish their nutritive value.
Some folks swear by the efficacy of raw food to diminish the effects of chronic illnesses like fibromyalgia and interstitial cystitis. Others love the energy boost they get from eating raw food, and still others enjoy clear and healthy-looking skin.
How much raw food should I eat?
Serious devotees of the raw food diet eat 70-100 percent raw food — a serious commitment that can radically change cooking habits and social lives. Luckily, eating raw food doesn’t need to be an all-or-nothing proposition. Plenty of people slowly add raw dishes to their diets at home, and occasionally splurge on a meal at an all-raw restaurant like Café Gratitude.
If you’re interested in adding raw food to your daily diet, a reasonable start might be to try to eat at least one serving of raw food at every meal.
Can I prepare raw food at home?
Absolutely! Fixing raw food is simple — after all, there’s no actual cooking involved. Raw dishes seem especially appealing in the heat of summer, with fresh, cool produce ruling the meal. Lettuce wraps filled with fresh carrots, cucumbers, zucchini and sprouts tossed in an herbal vinaigrette make a delicious luncheon entrée.
What do I need to know about raw food safety?
Although most raw veggies are safe, it’s always a good idea to keep food-borne illness in mind when pursuing a raw food diet. Be sure to check the reliability of your sources of raw dairy products and raw meat. Local, organic and grass-fed sources of beef and dairy tend to be the cleanest and healthiest. Any raw seafood should be sushi grade.
Raw poultry is never safe to eat, nor are most raw unsprouted grains. Also be very careful about raw eggs; if you must eat them, “cook” them in a strong acid — such as vinegar or lemon juice — to kill any bacteria.