My Raw Foods Journey…Could I Get A Cheeseburger With That?

by HEAB on December 17, 2008

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I started experimenting with raw foods five years ago and quickly learned three things: (1) raw foods are quite tasty; (2) preparation of raw foods can be difficult and time consuming; and (3) I happen to like mine served with a carnivore’s touch. :)

After a massage therapy school classmate shared Juliano’s RAW the UNcook Book with me, I was hooked.   The colorful pictures looked amazing, and I wanted to try it all.  Sprouted nuts, dehydrated pizza crust, desserts made from avocados? I found it all so intriguing and into the world of raw foods I leapt, but I never stayed long.

First, I mastered raw desserts.  Raw fudge became my go-to potluck dish, and I even sold raw energy bars to the local outdoor/camping store…although, I think their one vegan employee was the sole purchaser.  I got brave and decided to try raw ice-cream.  The recipe required coconuts.  This is where the difficulties began.

Mistake #1: I purchased some brown coconuts from the produce section.  Turns out, they were NOT the baby coconuts required by the recipe.  Armed with my coconut opening instructions I placed the coconut on the counter…Simply hold the cleaver above your head…What?!?

Mistake #2: My next decision was a horrible, horrible idea.  Note to self: hammer and screwdriver do not make good substitutes for cleaver.  I had coconut shards all over my little kitchen.  I have since learned to buy the correct coconuts and am now the proud owner of a kitchen cleaver. However, I am still plagued with coconut trauma.  It’s never as easy as the cookbooks say.  Sadly, I never had much success with the ice-cream, but I still enjoy trying new raw recipes. If anything, it adds a little excitement, if not some drama, to the kitchen.

Now, I make a kick a$$ dehydrated banana bread, but the raw avocado cream cheese spread…no thanks. I’d rather slap on some real Philly goodness. Oh, about that “raw pizza”? Looks more like an oversized crouton to me. I like chicken on top of my raw veggies with a sprinkle of bleu cheese crumbles. Guacamole is so much better with fried tortilla chips, no? My sprouted buckwheat all raw granola with Goji berries? I’ll take that mixed with a cup of Greek yogurt and some crunchy roasted  almond butter, if you please. Yes, raw fruits and vegetables should be a part of everyone’s diet…I just prefer mine with a side of meat.

So, after years of raw food experiments and many kitchen appliance purchases (freaking love my Vita-Mix!!!!), I’ve come to grips with the fact I could never live on raw foods alone.  I do not have the time or energy for all the food prep, i.e. soaking, sprouting, dehydrating, etc.  Plus, I am and will always be a meat eater.

My raw foods cookbook collection.  Love them all!

My raw foods cookbook collection. Love them all!

<i>Everyday Raw's</i> Mac & Cheese

Everyday Raw's Mac & Cheese

I ate mine…

on a plate of greens topped with chicken sausage.

on a plate of greens topped with chicken sausage.

We bought some apples that turned mushy.  So, I decided to dehydrate them.

Then I added these lovely dried apples to this week's chicken salad.

Then I added these lovely dried apples to this week's chicken salad.

Next up is one of my favorites.  Cashew cream sauce made with cashews, water, and agave nectar.  It makes a great creamy dessert sauce or frosting!  To it I added…

one raw apple, some pom seeds...and a Vitalicious Muffin Top

one apple, some pom seeds...and a Vitalicious Muffin Top

Chris and I had an all raw wedding cake.

We served this after dining on pork tenderloin, tilapia, and roasted chicken.

We served this after dining on pork tenderloin, tilapia, and roasted chicken.

So, as you can see, I always go and “un-raw” all of my raw dishes – one of the many reasons I could NEVER go 100%  raw.   Besides, have you ever priced raw macadamia nuts?  Holy $&*% !!!  I’d rather spend all that cash on exotic almond butters!

How about you?  Any favorite raw food dishes/recipes?  Ever dined in an all raw restaurant?

{ 25 comments }

VeggieGirl December 17, 2008 at 7:09 am

I follow a high-raw diet (which I talked about here: http://veggiegirlvegan.blogspot.com/2008/09/edible-and-inedible-goodies.html ), and loooove the recipes in the “Living in the Raw Desserts” book, “Raw Food Real World” book, and “Ani Phyo’s Raw Food Kitchen” book.

Heather Eats Almond Butter December 17, 2008 at 12:31 pm

Thanks VeggieGirl. I will look into those books. I’ve looked through all your photos the other day. Your raw desserts look beautiful!

carolinebee December 17, 2008 at 9:16 am

THIS is awesome :D I’ve never dabbled in veggie or veganism- but I do like the *idea* and healthier options that these diets offer! I would die to make those apple chips! Do you need a dehydrator??

Heather Eats Almond Butter December 17, 2008 at 12:35 pm

Hey Carolinebee! You do not need a dehydrator. In fact, I didn’t even use mine for the apples. Mine is rather cheap, and kind of a pain to use. I sliced my apples about a 1/4 thick and placed them on 2 parchment lined cookie sheets in a single layer. I set my oven at the lowest setting possible (170 degrees) and put the apples in, but left the oven door cracked. Most raw foodists dehydrate their fruit between 105 and 115 degrees. I’m not sure how hot my oven gets with the door left open, but it took about 8 hours to fully dry out the apples, and it’s totally worth the wait. Homemade dried fruit really does taste betta!

catms916 December 17, 2008 at 9:51 am

Really interesting post!! I have definitely not mastered the art of all things raw… I’ve gone as far as making some dehydrated fruits, veggies and beef jerky, but that’s about as advanced as I’ve gotten. I do however eat lots of sushi, which is mostly raw (except for the rice, although you can get it wrapepd in cucumber). I guess I have a problem with raw+meat as well…

I’d love to learn how to make more raw foods, particularly desserts. Is the raw fudge recipe you use from the Everyday Raw cookbook??

Heather Eats Almond Butter December 17, 2008 at 12:38 pm

Stevia N Spice,
The raw fudge is from Jeremy Safron’s The Raw Truth.

Gina December 17, 2008 at 10:00 am

Hehe, I loved this post. I have never even attempted a coconut. Although I did live in Hawaii for awhile and I saw them opened by the experts, hehe.

I love the idea of raw food…although I personally take too much comfort in cooked food to commit to a raw foods diet. I’ve been wanting to get a raw cookbook though, so thanks for your suggestions!! Some of the raw creations that people come up with are so amazingly cool!

Macy Outdoor December 17, 2008 at 11:21 am

Many other chronic and degenerative diseases may be reduced or prevented by feeding a biologically appropriate raw diet. Macy Outdoor

Meghann December 17, 2008 at 11:53 am

I’ve never actually tried any raw recipes. I am very intrigued though after seeing all of them in the blog world. I think before I would try any I would need to buy a dehydrator. I am starting to see the perks of having one and may need to invest.

I do the same thing you do with raw recipes with vegan, especially vegan baking. If it calls for a ‘flax egg’ I just use egg white. If it requires ‘non-dairy milk’ I just use cows. I also sometimes top vegan creations with meat or cheese.

Heather Eats Almond Butter December 17, 2008 at 12:39 pm

Hi Meghann, so glad to know I’m not the only confused raw/vegan meat eater :)

Erin December 17, 2008 at 12:46 pm

What an awesome post! I’ve never eaten at all all-raw place, just a semi-raw/vegan restaurant. It does seem like a lot of work and a huge commitment. I’m so glad you shared about your experience! I like raw fruits and veggies and I guess that’s about it! :)
RAW FUDGE?! Which cookbook did that come out of? Want to trade recipes? I’ve got a Snobby Joes recipe with your name on it! ;)

Erica December 17, 2008 at 5:40 pm

hahahahah…this cracks me up! I don’t think I could ever go all raw because I like hot food. The raw fudge does sound good though!

chebarbz December 17, 2008 at 6:11 pm

Raw veg? sure. Raw fruit? sure. Books about raw foods? I can think of more interesting books.

eatingbender December 17, 2008 at 8:52 pm

I love how you incorporate raw foods into your meat-eater lifestyle! After reading about so many different raw recipes in the blog world, I have to say that I think what you’re doing is FABULOUS. I don’t think I could ever go veggie or vegan (though I completely support those that do!), but I sure would love to enjoy some of the culinary treats that go along with the lifestyle!

FollowMyWeigh December 17, 2008 at 10:04 pm

Loved this post!
I have never even considered going on raw, I KNOW I could NOT do it. I will always be a meat-eater as well.
Thats awesome you at least experimented with it!

MizFit December 18, 2008 at 5:10 am

better you than me. Im not sure I could do it BUT that cake looks pretty fantastic.

raw food friends of mine tell me I COULDNT only in that it’s easy for them because their food is fab because they are willing to invest time in the prep.

they know me too well :)

caitlin December 18, 2008 at 6:04 am

ahhh i know future husband has something interesting to saw about the raw food diet (from a chinese medicine prespective). but i can’t remember if they think its BAD because your body has to work harder to break down the foods or if they think its GOOD because the food is more in its natural state and thus contains more chi energy. LOL. he tells me these interesting facts and they go in one ear, out the other.

Heather Eats Almond Butter December 18, 2008 at 8:10 am

Hey Caitlin. Thanks for reading! I’ve heard this – I think followers of Chinese medicine believe you should cook your food. Something like lightly cooked vegetables break down better in your body than raw. I like this theory as I can eat steamed broccoli by the bucketful, but raw broccoli….no thanks! That is really cool that your husband studies Chinese medicine. He’ll be good to have around :)

Sara December 18, 2008 at 8:43 am

I’ve never gone raw before, but I love your story about the coconut. I never buy whole coconuts because they intimidate me a little!

eatingbender December 18, 2008 at 11:10 am

I commented on this post but I don’t think it went through!! I shall try again! I think it’s very cool that you integrate raw foods with a meat-eater lifestyle. I’ve seen so many great raw recipes on blogs and really think it would be worthwhile to incorporate some of them into my diet.

Your wedding cake looks delicious!

Missy (Missy Maintains) December 18, 2008 at 11:55 am

I have never cooked a raw recipe myself, but my Aunt just recently became a Vegan so she brings her wonderful recipes to our holiday meals! I make plenty of fruits and veggies if that counts!

http://www.missymaintains.blogspot.com

Heather's Brother December 18, 2008 at 7:08 pm

I loved the RAW wedding cake. Very tasty!

seeleelive December 19, 2008 at 5:43 am

Hey Heather! that raw wedding cake looks soooo good! I love the almonds on the outside, I bet it would taste so so so good inside oats ;-)

Heather Eats Almond Butter December 19, 2008 at 8:04 am

Lee, the cake was amazing. I wish I had pictures of the layers – strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, and raw cashew cream sauce. It would have made a lovely addition to a bowl of oats. That was the one down side to having a raw cake. We couldn’t save the top :(

Amber from Berlinswhimsy March 27, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Heather—This is an old post but it’s new to me… :-) I wanted to comment because it’s so relevant to me now!

I’ve been pretty obsessed with raw food for the last 6 months or so, but I find that I do the same thing as you—- I use raw foods with my cooked foods! I love the creativity of raw foods, their beauty, and health benefits, but I’ve decided I can’t live without roasted veggies, baked sweet potatoes, cooked grains, and beans, etc. I’ve come to a happy medium of encorporating creative and yummy raw foods into my diet where I can.

Also, I have all of those books you show there plus a new one that recently was published called, ‘Raw Food: A Complete Guide for Every Meal of the Day.’ It’s very doable and is written more for those people who want to add raw meals in here and there or go through a raw detox… I recommend it!

Beautiful and yummy looking wedding cake. So perfect! :-)

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