Sunday, April 21, 2013

Raw Drama

Lately there has been some drama in the raw food lifestyle community on Youtube.  This should not come as a surprise.  There is something about the medium combined with human nature that seems to have led to this outcome in other Youtube communities, not just in raw food.  I don't think it's necessary to be judgmental, but would like to comment about the different ways people might respond to this.

There have been some commendable efforts by a few within the global raw food community to speak out against the drama, and others have remained silent.  It seems that many of the raw foodists on Youtube have answered not by addressing the negativity directly, but by instead posting positive, uplifting videos. They have chosen to express themselves according to their own principles, which I find admirable.

Different raw foodists have different philosophies about the best way to be raw, and I think that's good.  Each of us needs to find our own personal best way to be, and when different people put their own lifestyle and opinion on Youtube, it gives the rest of us some ideas to consider.  I do not think it's appropriate to put anyone down for their lifestyle choices.  Instead, I feel it is appropriate to make our own lifestyle choices while engaging in thoughtful and respectful two way discussion about these choices.  A two way discussion involves listening as well as talking.

At this time I am not personally a follower of any one raw food school of thought, but I do incorporate ideas from different people into something that works for me and my family.  For example, since I am only moderately active on my most active days, I find that I feel best if I eat a lot more green leafy vegetables than fruit.  With the right balance of fruit and greens, I feel alert, energetic and satiated.  With too much fruit and not enough greens, my teeth become sensitive and I start having unhealthy cravings.  If I eat too many nuts and seeds, I start feeling heavy and put on weight.  The best diet for me at this time seems to be mostly vegetables with a smaller amount of fruit, a much smaller amount of nuts, and foods like dates and cacao only occasionally.  At this time about 20% or less of my diet is cooked, with a very small amount of occasional foods that are not considered a part of the diet.  As the weather here gets hotter, we'll probably start eating closer to 100% raw.  Of course, any changes in lifestyle would lead to a need for changes in diet.  My opinion is based solely on how my body responds, nothing more, nothing less.  It is especially not based on some sort of ideology or paranoia.

Some might find them interesting, but I'm not going to link to any videos about the drama.  I would prefer to remain focused on videos about raw food.

It's my sincere hope that newcomers to the raw food lifestyle don't see only the people in the minority who want to bait their fellow raw foodists and as a result become turned off to the lifestyle on the whole.  The raw food lifestyle doesn't have to include drama, it's not necessary to be paranoid, put others down or join a cult.  In my view, it's about eating a fresh, plant based diet in it's most natural and most nutritious form, and living in a way that is optimal for the individual.  Nothing more, nothing less.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Raw Hammish Sammiches

                              This is NOT a ham sandwich.

Knowing that my family and I are still in transition, and with the memory of the St. Patrick's Day cravings fresh in my mind, I was determined to do something to prepare for the Easter holiday.  Ham was a traditional Easter dish when I was a child.  Of course we always made ham sandwiches out of the leftover ham. 

To help us keep our diet cleaner this season, I decided to make a sprouted raw whole-grain bread, a raw macadamia nut cheddar, and young Thai coconut in a marinade reminiscent of a sweet, smoky, glistening ham.

We will definitely be making this again.

It might seem complicated, but it's not.  To make the cheese, soak the nuts overnight, rinse them and grind them up with some bell pepper juice and probiotics.  Let it culture for 48 hours, stir in some nutritional yeast and turmeric, and let it sit another 24-48 hours.  Shape it and chill it.  I haven't obtained permission to share the recipe but you can get it from the Raw Nut Cheese ebook from the Russell James collection. 

The bread is also much easier than it looks.  The hardest part is the waiting.  Soak the buckwheat overnight, rinse it and sprout it.  Grind the sprouted buckwheat in the food processor with a bunch of other ingredients until it is the texture of really thick pancake batter, (or really thin cookie dough.)  Spread it on paraflexx sheets and dehydrate.  Easy peasy.  This particular recipe was in a free ebook offered by Russell James for signing up for his free online newsletter.

Hemp mayonnaise is quick and easy to make.  Add fresh parsley and celery for flavor and color.  I don't even use a recipe anymore.  I just put either some lemon juice or apple cider vinegar in the high speed blender, add some type of sweetener, toss in herbs and seasonings, add a cup or so of hulled hemp seeds, and blend until it's thick enough.  Then taste and adjust.

A tip of the hat to Areeya at the Go Raw Cafe.  The idea for the coconut marinade came from one of her raw prep classes.

To make the hamish, open some young Thai coconuts, drink the water, remove the flesh and marinate it for 48 hours.  The longer you allow it to marinate, the deeper the color.  If the ingredients listed below are not raw enough, make whatever necessary substitutions you desire.  Dehydrate for up to 3 hours and make a sandwich.

Here's the recipe for the ham-ish marinade.  This will season the flesh of 4 - 6 young Thai coconuts:

1/2 cup organic nama shoyu
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tsp powdered beet root
1 tsp ground clove
1 tsp mace
1 tsp spmoked paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp ground mustard
 1/2 tsp majorum
1/2 tsp thyme

Note on the ingredients:  The maple syrup is not raw.  It's possible to simply blend dates into the marinade for a healthier sweetener.  The shoyu is not technically raw but is a common raw food flavoring.  It does contain wheat so is not optimal for those on a gluten free diet.  It might be possible to use something like unpasteurized chickpea miso instead of tamari or shoyu.  The beet powder came from Mountain Rose Herbs, but a similar result can be obtained from beet juice or pureed beets.

This sandwich does not perfectly mimic the taste and mouth feel of a Standard American Diet (SAD) ham and cheese sandwich, but it comes close and it is delicious in its own right.  It definitely helped stave off cravings and it's healthier than the SAD alternative.  With the mac nut cheese, hemp mayo and coconut "meat," it's rather high in healthy fats and I found a half a sandwich to be plenty for me.  It's good for an occasional treat. 

Imagine a completely raw Ezekiel-style bread with alfalfa sprouts, tomato and avocado.  Mmmmm.  Time to go make more bread!