food for thought: review of the raw truth

Okay, so this book is hella frou frou on the one hand. On the list of harmful and hurtful foods (chemicals, processed foods, hormone-filled foods, etc) it includes “food made with anger.” But when you ignore the sunshine and unicorns, it’s actually a rather well put together guide to kinds of food and what they can be used for. And I do think raw vegans have a point–raw food is good for your body, easily digested, and pretty much always safe. Also, if you like supporting local businesses and farmers, this diet pretty much requires that you do.

A fair amount of the recipes either sound really gross or include ingredients that I can’t have. Raw food actually does include “cooked” food, just at a very low temperature, so there is raw vegan bread that’s allowed, but it’s not gluten free. He also advocates using a lot of wheat germ and wheat grass, and obviously that’s full of gluten. But I still wanted this book because I felt like I owed it to my stomach to try and make it stop always hurting, even nearly a year after I’ve cut out gluten, and at least six months since I cut out dairy and soy. That said, this book is soy-happy, so that leaves out some of the recipes, though I suppose I could actually incorporate meat back into them.

I haven’t tried any of the recipes yet, and some are just impractical for my lifestyle. I don’t have the time, space, or windows with good sunlight to try sprouting seeds or buckwheat. So that cuts out some of the recipes, though I supposed they could be modified. This book probably has the only tabouleh I could actually eat, because his recipe uses quinoa instead of bulgur. But I would probably cook my quinoa rather than sprout it.

Since I have no plans to live a raw lifestyle and this is only meant to be supplementary for me, I think it’s a good resource. I’m most looking forward to trying the drink recipes, since I’ve been wanting to incorporate more fruit and tea into my diet. And many of the salad dressing recipes look bomb diggity. If you were just trying to find low-stress recipes or things that you could make in advance and keep for busy days or for a lunchbox, the recipes in here are perfect. There are cold soups, salads, smoothies, and little side dishes that I think would make an excellent addition to a non-raw meal, or, if you’re like me, you could make a meal of sides. Since I am on campus for 12 hours on Mondays and can’t bring food with me that needs to be refrigerated or heated up, I am planning on making the apple cinnamon cups and some of the pates and taking that with crackers or chips. Multiple-side-dish-no-entree meals definitely seem more and more to be the best option when you have my dietary restrictions and want to avoid the high calorie, high sugar gluten-free alternatives to normally gluten-full foods.

The Raw Truth by Jeremy A. Safron. Berkeley (where else?): Celestial Arts, 2003. 1st ed.

in the kitchen: baked vegetable pakoras

After going to the Copley Farmers’ Market on Friday, I was really excited to do something with this:

I mean, look at it. And actually, that’s not a photo of mine, because I’m bad at photos (so this one is from Woophy.com). Mine is an even softer orange, and they called it “cheddar cheese cauliflower.” I had to have it. And since I also had some other vegetables in my fridge that needed to be eaten (why do carrots and celery lose their crunchiness so quickly here compared to Arizona?), I decided I should try to make pakoras. Pakoras are great because they’re a side dish that can easily be a main dish just with a larger portion. You can use just about any vegetable (I used carrot, cauliflower, and asparagus, but zucchini, onion, and broccoli are also good), and the batter is easy. It’s essentially deep fried veggies, but instead of deep frying, they’re baked, and they use garbanzo flour, so they’re gluten free. They really taste like junk and yet they’re not so bad for you. I think it’s the curry powder and the fact that it’s not regular old flour that makes you think you’re eating actual deep fried things, even though you’re not.

I had a recipe, but as I went about doing it, I realized that it must have been more of a pakora pancake kind of recipe, and the time I ate pakoras at a restaurant, it was more like deep fried individual veggie pieces. So, even though I followed the recipe’s proportions as far as baking powder:flour:curry:salt, I decided to try and make them resemble what I’ve had before (though I had them in the Czech Republic, so that’s not the biggest indication that I was doing it right). So that’s it–an egg, some oil, garbanzo flour, baking powder, salt, and curry. Toss the veggies in it, bake it for 20 minutes, and done! Since lately I can’t eat anything without hot sauce, I decided to throw some sriracha on them. If you can have dairy, they’re traditionally served with raita sauce. Hummus would probably be good, too. And now I’m enjoying some cool mango sorbet.

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