“Raw food”, “fully raw”, “raw foodists”. We hear these words quite often. Raw food is basically plant based food which has not been heated above 48 degrees centigrade (117 degrees Fahrenheit). People either love it, hate it or ignore it. Someone says that raw food makes you feel ecstatic, excited and cleanses your body because it contains all the life force, enzymes, water, oxygen, hormones, vitamins and minerals. Someone says it is not natural for the body to eat so much uncooked food, someone thinks it‘s extreme and even unhealthy. I became confused and curious and decided to ask my own body what it says about raw food, because like all the bodies it ‘s super smart and usually comes with the best answers.
I decided to treat myself with raw plant based meals during 5 days and see how it FEELS. I made my own rules though, and created some twists to make it less strict. I added peanut butter and warm drinks into my experiment. Here are all the meals I prepared and ate during this period and what I found out.
Green smoothie: 1 handful spinach leaves, 1 handful rucola, half apple, piece of ginger, 1 slice pineapple, half cup cold water
Toppings: half banana, nuts, seeds, goji berries, cacao nibs, peanut butter
Raw bowl: broccoli and pineapple cut in pieces, dried goji berries
Dark chocolate sauce: 1tsp coconut oil, melted with touch of salt and vanilla, 2 tsp cacao powder
If still hungry: half banana & peanut butter
If craving savoury: Sour kraut – plain or with little bit of tamari and sesame oil
Watermelon: afternoon snack or a dinner starter
Salad: mushrooms, carrots, cucumber, leafy greens, spring onion, beets
Dressing: 1 tsp mustard, 2 tsp tamari, 1 tsp agave, 1 tsp sesame oil, half tsp ginger powder, half tsp crashed black pepper
Mint avocado chocolate mousse: 1 avocado, pinch of salt, 4 dates, handful fresh mint, 1 tsp balsamico, 1 tsp tamari, 1 tsp coconut oil, 4 Tbsp cacao powder, half cup water. Top with berries and mint leaves. Recipe inspired by Laura Miller.
Fruits & veggies plate: one orange, half apple with cinnamon, half banana, one handful broccoli, one handful ruccola, chia seeds, fresh herbs: basil, sage, mint
Toppings: sunflower seeds, goji berries, peanut butter
Drink: birch leaves tea with honey or other herbal tea
Lunch and snack
Salad: see the day before
Dessert: half banana and peanut butter
Berry smoothie: handful frozen strawberries and raspberries, half banana, half cup soy milk, pinch of vanilla, kiwi and mint of the top
Small mushroom salad: 4 small mushrooms, 2 Tbsp sun dried tomatoes, 5 olives, 1 clove garlic, spring onion, fresh thyme and basil, few drops of truffle oil, black pepper. Cut in pieces and combine. Super easy.
Apple pie: For the crust: 3 Tbsp buckwheat flour, 1 handful almonds, pinch of salt, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 handful dates, 1 Tbsp chia seeds, half cup water. Process all the ingredients to make a dough. Roll it flat on a baking paper and cut out two round slices, which will create the crust. For the cream: Blend together 2 Tbsp cashew butter, pinch of salt and vanilla, half tsp cinnamon, 2 Tbsp water. Slice 1-2 apples and make layers: crust, cream, apple slices. This cake became my total favourite!:)
Drink: caffeine herbal coffee Teeccino
Spicy turmeric cacao: One cup soy milk, half tsp turmeric powder, half tsp cinnamon, halt tsp ginger powder, touch of salt and vanilla, 2 tsp cacao powder, little bit of black pepper or chili powder if you like.
A piece of raw chocolate: 1 heaping Tbs softened coconut oil, 1 Tbs agave, pinch of salt and vanilla, melt together over low heat, add 3 Tbsp cacao powder and 1 Tbsp sesame seeds. Pour over on a baking paper, top with dried berries and almonds. Freeze for 5 minutes, enjoy!:)
Fruits and veggies plate: 1 handful broccoli and ruccola, 1 banana, half apple, fresh basil, sage and mint
Topping and dessert: Sunflower seeds, peanut butter, raw chocolate
Raw pizza with pesto: For the dough: 1 Tbsp chia seeds, 3 Tbs buckwheat flour, 1 Tbsp rolled oats, 1 Tbsp sunflower seeds, 6 Tbsp water, salt. Mix together, then bake in oven on 48 degrees until solid and relatively dry.
Pesto: 4 Tbsp olive oil, 4 garlics, 1 handful cashew nuts, pepper, salt, 2 handfuls fresh basil. Blend together.
Toppings: mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, ruccola, spring onion, fresh thyme, tomatoes
Forest berry ice cream: 2 handful frozen forest berries, pinch of vanilla, 1-2 Tbsp agave, 2 Tbsp coconut cream. Blend until smooth, top with eatable flowers or fresh mint.
Raw crisp bread with peanut butter, cinnamon and banana. For the bread see the pizza dough recipe from day 3.
Spicy yogi tea latte: recipe here
Carrot & turmeric salad: amazing recipe by Mind Body Green. 2 Tbs water, 2 Tbsp olive oil, 2 Tbsp cashew or almond butter, 2 Tbsp apple vinegar, 1 tsp honey, pinch of salt and chili if you like, 1 garlic clove, 1 tsp turmeric powder or 1 Tbsp minced fresh turmeric, fresh ginger. Blend it all together. Grate 3 medium carrots, chop 1 handful almonds, add 1 handful raisins and sunflower seeds. Mix together, pour over the dressing. This salad is ultra tasty!:)
Piece of raw chocolate: see recipe from day 3
Yoga tea latte: recipe here
Vegetable spring rolls: cut or slice all different veggies you find in the fridge into pieces and shapes you like. I used one beet, piece of cucumber, one scallion, fresh ginger, fresh basil and thyme, 1 handful rucola and spinach. Dip a rice paper in cold water. Put on some veggies, leftover pesto – see dinner day 3, and sun dried tomatoes. Add a few drops of truffle oil – OMG, so good! and wrap it up. For the dressing: mix 1 Tbsp tamari, 1 tsp agave, 1 Tbsp sesame oil and little bit of black pepper. This dish is addictive!
Spicy turmeric cacao. see the day 3
Green and pink smoothie: For the green: spinach, rucola, water, sage, apple, banana. For the pink: banana, soy milk, frozen raspberries.
Toppings: flax seeds, sunflower seeds, goji berries
Chocolate yogi tea – use this recipe and add 2 tsp cacao powder
Spring rolls again! see the recipe from day before with little modification: use carrots instead of beets, add some chili and olives. I want to eat this every day!
Carrot cake: For the crust: 3 medium carrots, 3 Tbsp buckwheat flour, 1 handful almonds, 2 Tbsp chia seeds, 1 handful raisins, 3 dates, 2 pinch of salt, 1 tsp cinnamon, half tsp nutmeg, 1 heaping tsp softened coconut oil, water if needed. Peel and cut the carrots and mix in a food processor together with all the ingredients. For the cream: 1 cup cashews soaked over night, juice from half lime, 1 Tbsp agave, pinch of vanilla, touch of salt.
Watermelon: afternoon snack or dinner starter
Pizza with green pesto and tomatoes: for pizza dough and pesto see day 3. Cover the pizza corpus with sliced veggies – I used squash, tomatoes, scallions, mushrooms and rucola. Add a lot of sun dried tomatoes soaked in olive oil, fresh thyme and basil, olives, rest of the green pesto, salt and pepper and maybe even some truffle oil, if you like it. Serve raw or go wild and bake it! I have to make a confession here and say that I could not stand against the temptation to bake this pizza in the oven, and so I did! And it tasted crazy good. I mean come on, it is the final day and I only am a human.
Raw chocolate – see day 3
I really enjoyed this little raw food experiment. Here is what I learnt.
- Raw food is intense! Specially the cakes, sauces and dressings are very rich in flavour and texture and often feel like a total flavour explosion in your mouth. I love this moment of surprise and amazement which comes with the first bite.
- I noticed that I ate less than I do usually and was less hungry. I felt like the body got lots of nourishments from raw meals and stayed satisfied longer.
- I was thirsty all the time. My body craved more water then usually, even if I ate veggies and fruits which contain water. I guess the body was cleansing and needed more water to get rid of all the unnecessary stuff.
- I learnt a lot of new recipes – specially sauces and dressings which I want to use in combination with cooked meals. Also, I want to try baking some raw food cakes just to see how it tastes!
- Raw food looks beautiful. It‘s an undeniable fact. Every single fruit, vegetable, seed, nut or flower is totally unique, fascinating and beautiful. It‘s the same with people. I learnt to value foods even more and see more of its beauty.
- I ate a lot of amazing desserts, chocolates and beautiful smoothies whenever I felt like and had a good feeling afterwards.
- Day 3 was the most challenging one, specially when my flatmate Janne decided to become a baker during this week!:) The whole apartment smelled like a heaven bakery and I felt like giving up and wanted to bite into the fresh breads. Well, I did! I had some bites and LOVED IT, but I did not quit my experiment for that. I went on the day after. My perfectionist self was freaking out and judging me, but my wiser self brought in some ease and compassion and everything went well. This is a part of the process. We are doing our best and then we go on, we don‘t give up! We grow.
- During day 4 I got a very nice feeling of peace and balance. No cravings.
- Nevertheless, many times during this experiment I realised how much I loved using heat in the kitchen. Heat is a real magic element which creates the most wholehearted divine tasting, heaven smelling dishes. How lucky we are!
- Funny thing is that even after these 5 days were over, I still kept on eating raw food breakfasts and partly raw food dishes. This was surprising. I thought that the first thing would be to bake a bread, but I made a green smoothie instead. Well, I will definitely bake the bread once the body asks.
- As always, listening to the body is the way to go. It keeps on telling us what it needs. Our job is to tune in, listen and nourish. Yoga and meditation are some powerful tools do become good at it. Again, how lucky we are!:)
- I am realising more and more how important it is to create more balance, self love and ease in all the areas of life, food being a big part of it. From here we can naturally develop love and support for everyone around us.
I hope this raw food story can be inspiring for you. Maybe even trying one raw day or one raw meal can be something new and fun. My biggest favourites were definitely the carrot turmeric salad, the spring rolls, avocado chocolate mousse, dark raw chocolate, forest berry ice cream, apple and carrot cakes and the amazing vanilla banana ice cream with peanut butter sauce.
Ice cream celebration!
To celebrate these raw food days I made a very special vanilla banana ice cream with peanut butter & cinnamon sauce. There is one secret ingredient in the sauce which makes this dessert kind of mind blowing. Find the recipe under the picture and go make it! ENJOY!:)
Banana ice cream: 2 dcl soy milk, 1 big banana, pinch of salt and a good pinch of dried vanilla. Process in an ice cream maker or simply use a frozen banana and blend it with rest of the ingredients.
Peanut butter sauce: 1 heaping Tbsp peanut butter, 1 Tbsp tamari, 1 Tbsp maple sirup, 2 tsp cinnamon, 2 Tbsp water. Blend into a creamy sauce. Top on your ice cream.