Tuesday, April 26, 2011
The Raw Food Week Challenge
A couple weeks ago I decided to challenge myself to a raw food week, where I could eat only uncooked, raw foods with two exceptions: tea and yogurt. No coffee, no alcohol, nothing cooked for 7 days. The whole time I only had 2-3 cups of tea and a couple small yogurts, so not bad! I guess I did it as sort of a "Spring Cleanse" and managed to make it through the whole week and definitely felt healthier by the end. I doubt I'll ever be a raw foodist, but it was a great reminder to include more fresh vegetables in my diet and a nice shift away from the lack of fresh produce I consumed during the winter! If I could sum up the experience, I'd say it felt like a fresh start.
Below you'll find some links to recipes and pictures of what I made. If a recipe is not included for anything you're interested in, let me know in the comments and I'll sort it out!
These are the Chocolate Coffee (Almost Raw) Dessert Cups I blogged about years ago when I was a wee little blogger. They are still freaking delicious. So much so, that I made them 3 times, even after Raw Week ended. Instead of using cocoa butter like I did originally, I made them with extra virgin coconut oil and left out the coffee this time. Sogood.
After day 2 I developed an unsatiable salty things savory craving, so I decided to take some of my raw cashews and made a "cheese" with them. There are MANY raw cashew cheese recipes floating around the internet, but mine consisted of just raw cashews, lemon juice, fresh garlic, water and salt, with some spices on the top. It takes 24-48 hours, but almost all of this is hands-off time, just waiting for the cashews to soak and everything to solidify. So good though. I used it to make:
Lettuce wraps! Raw cashew cheese, ripe avocado and big leaves of lettuce. I believe at one point there may have been some sprouts and tomatoes involved as well.
Day 3-4 I got a really bad craving for rice, so I sprouted the rest of the wheat berries leftover from my farm farm share. It takes a few days, but it was a fun experiment and the freshly sprouted wheat berries were super yummy. The gist of it is: rinse the wheat berries and soak them in a bowl of water for 24 hours. Rinse them again and put them in a jar covered with cheesecloth/tupperware with a vent away from the sun. Rinse 2-3 times a day and put them back in the jar/tupperware for 2-3 days until they look like the above picture. Success!
Here is my sprouted wheatberry salad! It consisted of wheatberries, fresh ripe avocado, organic tomatoes, onion, broccoli, garlic and lemon juice. I topped it with some aged cherry balsamic vinegar at one point.
I don't really remember what was in these because I made most of the better a few weeks before raw food week from some random recipe, didn't like the original texture and left the "batter" in the freezer. I remembered it again during my raw experiments and decided to mess around with it after eating a really good raw macaroon from the Co-Op here. I believe there was cocoa powder, coconut oil, some of that cheap shredded coconut you find in your Big Name grocery stores, big flaked unsweetened dried coconut, and agave nectar. The original was too mushy and weird so I whizzed the dried coconut into an almost-powder and added it with the original mix with more cocoa powder to make much more delicious and solid raw macaroons. This may be a future post because they were tasty.
The essential food porn shot of the chocolate coconut raw macaroons.
The first picture of this post and this one is Raw Spicy Red Pepper Soup from Vegweb. This happened the very last night of Raw Food Week when cooked foods were in sight and I was craving savory things something hard. I felt like a legit raw foodist making this in the blender. I followed the recipe, except I used raw cashews instead of an avocado for creaminess and red pepper flakes instead of a jalapeno. It was good and really pretty, but I still prefer cooked soup. I think it probably would've been better with the avocado, but I was all out. I'm definitely interested in trying out some more raw soup recipes though, because it was a cool idea and felt a lot lighter than normal soup.
I also ate a LOT of salads with raw walnuts, avocado, spouts, tomatoes, lettuce, onions and whatever else I could find. Usually breakfast was a smoothie, some raw fruit and nuts or some of the Chocolate Coffee (Almost) Raw Dessert Cups. The third day I spent the afternoon at Karma, a cafe where I live with lots of raw food options and it was freaking delicious. I got tea, raw lasagna, a raw brownie with coconut ice cream made from Thai young coconut meat and some dehydrated flax seed crackers to take home and eat with my raw cashew cheese. Everything was so delicious, I need to go back even when it's not raw week. The flax seed crackers, which I've never had before, were super flavorful.
Overall, the Raw Food Week Challenge was a success! Perhaps I'll make this a spring tradition. Have you ever experimented with raw foods? What are some of your favorite recipes?