The raw food movement is said to give one boundless energy and a clear mind, as though a fog’s been lifted. This author rarely gets colds and has become physically stronger. In The Rawvolution Continues: The Living Foods Movement in 150 Natural and Delicious Recipes, we explain how we eat.
Raw foods, strictly speaking, are any that have not been heated beyond a certain temperature. Different teachers site varying temperatures as the cut-off point. We use 105°F (40°C), though temperatures as high as 118°F have been deemed by other teachers to be considered uncooked and still intact where enzymes, minerals, and vitamins are concerned.
How and why would raw foods get heated past 100°F anyway?
In raw food cuisine, we often use a food dehydrator, which is essentially a low-temperature oven, to gently remove the water from a food while maintaining the food’s nutritional and enzymatic properties.
Why remove the water—isn’t the water content part of what makes raw foods so healthful?
Water is great. Dehydration is used, not so much to avoid water, but to create dryer, heartier textures. These textures create a contrast to the cool, juiciness of fresh fruits and vegetables and are more filling for those with large appetites, or who are new to raw foods. Dehydrated foods also allow for more creativity and options in the kitchen and add a whole world of variety to one’s diet. Dehydrated foods also provide a large measure of convenience as they can be stored, and will remain fresh, for several weeks or longer, reducing the feeling that every raw food meal must begin with an enormous amount of prep.
In order to be considered raw, a food must only be uncooked. This means raw animal foods would qualify—right?
They would. However, we promote a vegetarian and vegan diet, and the recipes in this book contain no animal-derived ingredients.
Does raw food include food grown in any manner?
Yes, although we strongly prefer (really demand) organics in our own lives. We also love food that has been grown biodynamically and on local, family farms. In creating the recipes in this book, you’ll use whatever you have access to, but we urge you to choose organics and family-farmed produce whenever possible.
What about freezing?
Freezing, it seems, does not affect food enzymes the way that cooking does, and like dehydration, allows for contrast of flavor and texture, creativity in the kitchen, and more variety. This does not mean that all raw foods, in their original or prepared states, will retain their palatability when frozen and thawed. The recipes in this collection that advise or require freezing still taste great, if not better, after coming out of the freezer.
What about beer, wine, and other alcoholic beverages? Are they raw?
Beer is not considered raw, as it is brewed. The same goes for hard liquors, as they are distilled. Wine and champagne are considered raw, as they are only fermented and are undistilled. Are they healthful? Should you drink them? That’s for you to decide! Some raw food restaurants serve wines that have been specially paired with their menu items, while many raw health educators suggest that it’s better to avoid alcohol of any kind, whether raw or not.