CELEBRATING OUR RAW NATURE:
Plant-Based Living Cuisine
Review by Vegetarians in Paradise
The raw food lifestyle is ablaze with contagious enthusiasm that affects its growing numbers of devotees with that same bubbling vigor. Those who follow a raw diet say they are living within the laws of nature and in time develop an inner wisdom and intuitive sense about what foods are in harmony with their bodies.Author Dorit says, “The well-attuned body knows what to eat, when to eat, and when to stop eating.” She likens humans on the raw diet to animals in the wild who eat only when they are hungry and know instinctively the foods that are appropriate for them and how much of it to eat.
Raw fooders seem to develop a deeper relationship with their food, enjoying the touch and tempting aromas that spark the flow of saliva. Each of our senses contributes to the pleasure of eating, even down to color affecting our mood. Dorit recommends setting the table with blue as the dominant color, creating a calmer mood for those who tend to overeat.
Eating with mindfulness is important. Avoid eating when in a bad mood, standing up, or when in a hurry. These negatives can affect the nervous system and interfere with good energy for proper digestion. To improve digestive disorders, the author advises practicing food combining, a regimen that “entails eating foods that are compatible with each other in terms of digestive chemistry.”
The author encourages teaching children to prepare raw foods while they are young and feel closely in touch with nature. Instead of demonstrating how to cut food with knives, she suggests families show their children how to squeeze and twist foods for juicing and tear greens for salads rather then cutting them. Parents should accept the phases children go through when they balk at certain colors, textures, or smells.
Children eat instinctively and will turn to other foods when their bodies are ready. Farmers markets can be an exciting experience for children, especially if allowed to choose the foods they would like to eat. “The more involved they are with growing, picking, and sprouting their own food, the more healthful their eating habits will be,” says Dorit.
A helpful Glossary provides good explanations about some of the more exotic ingredients used in the recipes, items like algorroba, camu camu, E3Live, E3AFA, E3 with Phenalmin, Himalayan salt, Incan berries, lucuma, palm nectar, and yacon. Since some of these ingredients are uncommon, exotic, and unavailable in chain grocery stores and even some natural food markets, Dorit supplies an excellent resource list as well as a suggested schedule for purchasing the more expensive raw items on a budget.
Some of Dorit’s favorite kitchen appliances include familiar items like a high-powered blender, food processor, and juicer along with a few unique items like ceramic knives, a dehydrator, a mandoline, nut milk bags, a ceramic mill, and a suribachi.
Soaked nuts and seeds are vital ingredients in the raw kitchen. The author provides guidelines for optimal soaking times for nuts, grains, and legumes. She advises purchasing only organic nuts and seeds and storing them in the refrigerator.
Start the day by rehydrating with pure, clean water. Green drinks make an excellent morning meal, but for heartier fare, try any one of the 18 wholesome breakfast dishes like Apricot Carrot Bread, Hearty Seed Porridge, Mixed Fruit and Nut Granola, or Breakfast Parfait.
While many cookbooks offer a handful of beverage recipes, Dorit’s thirst quenchers, nut milks, smoothies, shakes, fruit and vegetable juices, and digestive and cleansing beverages number in the 60’s. The Digestive Calmer might be the ideal tonic before or after a jangling bumper-to-bumper rush hour drive on the Los Angeles 405 freeway.
Feeling tempted to fall off the wagon and dip your spoon into a steaming hot bowl of soup on a cold winter night? Instead, turn to the Thick and Spicy Minestrone Soup with its grand array of vegetables, apples, raw corn kernels, sprouted lentils, green peas, and chickpeas, yams, and a blast of fresh herbs.
One of the most unique appetizers is Holiday Chestnuts, a variety of nuts that tend to receive very little attention. These are first dehydrated and peeled, then blended with flaxseed oil, agave nectar, and fennel seeds. This deliciously sweet mixture can then be enjoyed as a spread on celery sticks, wrapped in lettuce leaves, or spooned over desserts.
Vegetarians are often an afterthought when non-vegetarian families plan holiday meals. Vegans suffer more, but raw fooders are lucky if they get a radish to chew on. Creative author Dorit assures a great holiday meal for the raw devotee with dishes like Holiday Vegetable Loaf, Holiday Wild Rice, and hearty Lentil Burgers.
Desserts galore include goodies that range from easy treats like Peaches and Berries or Cherry Vanilla Almond Ice Cream to those that are a little fussier such as Berry Cheesecake and Velvety Vegan Pumpkin Pie.
The last chapter of the book features liquid meals that provide a nutritional boost to those who might be recovering from illness or athletes who undergo demanding training schedules. These beverages are also helpful to raw newbies who need time to adjust to raw foods, to anyone who has had dental surgery, or for those with a fractured jaw that has been wired closed for a month or two.
While the majority of recipes are vegan, there are a limited few that contain honey that vegans could easily alter.
Celebrating Our Raw Nature by Dorit is truly a jubilant celebration of our bountiful kingdom of fresh fruits and vegetables. The recipes are uncomplicated and so easy to follow, they could tempt anyone to want to go raw. Just reading the recipes sparks the urge to gather a selection of fresh fruits and vegetables and start tossing them into the blender or food processor. We could almost taste the succulent flavors of raw!