Sunday, July 29, 2012

Tip #31: Get acquainted with the raw foodists

Puttanesca Ravioli from Catch a Healthy Habit, Fairfield, CT
I first learned about the raw food diet when I started researching green smoothies and I read about Victoria Boutenko and how her family reversed severe ailments like diabetes by switching their diet to a raw, plant-based diet. I honestly thought that they probably were really strange people, as the whole idea not only sounded insane but also clearly very difficult.

Over the years I kept hearing more about vegan raw foodists, and how they all sounded very happy and healthy (NPR "The raw food movement"). I still was quite skeptical until I heard about a BBC show called "The truth about food" which had a segment (called "The evolution diet) in which 9 people were put in a zoo and fed only fruits, vegetables, nuts and honey. The results of their 12 day experiment  were nothing short of astounding: a 23% average drop in cholesterol, their blood pressure went from 140/83 to 122/76 and they also lost almost 10 lbs per person (although that was not the intention of the experiment). I saw a summary of the show on our TV and what surprised me the most was not even those shocking numbers, but the fact that these people, who were regular, completely normal people, said that, after the second day, they experienced a sense of total happiness, resulting on complete cooperation among themselves, which was actually not what the producers had expected (they thought it could become another awful reality TV spectacle with people fighting because they missed their burgers and fries).

I'm still not sure that doing a 100% raw food diet is feasible or convenient for me. I did try it once for 3 days, and I did like how I felt. But the point of this tip is that, by looking at the way raw foodists prepare their food I have learned immensely and I think anyone can benefit from it. They believe that when we cook our food, we lose their enzymes, and that we really were meant, as animals, to not eat cooked food. From everything I've read, this makes sense. In general, I think we should eat things that are as close as possible to their original state. And, although you also get great benefits from soups and bean stews, it is true that some forms of cooking, such as grilling or charring can cause cancer. So, I think its is a good idea to add more raw foods into our daily routine, and this is quite easy if you start by just making sure you have a big salad every day.

But I've also learned from raw foodists that you can make absolutely delicious things without the need to cook. We are lucky were we live that we have a raw food restaurant, Catch a Healthy Habit, which is absolutely wonderful. Although I have yet to taste something I didn't like, my absolute favorite is their Puttanesca ravioli. The mixture of flavors, olives, capers, tomato, is just exquisite. And here are two websites that I use regularly, particularly when we are invited to our friends houses for dinner and I like to make some type of dessert for myself:
And one thing that has been very helpful in my case is that I have learned to substitute for things I cannot (or shouldn't) eat. For example, in order to control my blood sugar level, my nutritionists recommends that I only eat 3 servings of grains a day (about 1 1/2 cups, eg. 3 pieces of toast or just a cup and half of rice. A day. Yes, quite awful). This was really hard to do at the beginning, but now I, for example, eat a leaf of lettuce instead of corn tortilla or raw zucchini spaghetti, instead of pasta, etc. These are actually surprisingly delicious. I learned about these options through the raw food recipes.

What about you? Have you ever been to a raw food restaurant? Do you have a favorite recipe? Let me know!


  1. Well I have had your Raspberry Ganache fudge cake and I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. I have yet to make myself but its on my list of things to do. Sadly, my vitamix is as shiny as it was when you saw it....I need to get inspired again!

    Ani's fresh walnut taco meat sounds good - I'm pretty sure I would like that.

    Thanks for another great blog Pilar - Always some really great information.


  2. Thanks for the link Pilar! I enjoyed reading your blog. Lisa