One of the most fascinating health trends is the raw (or living) foods movement.
They say you are what you eat. In this case, I believe raw foods make a very strong case, because you are eating pure, living, plant-based ingredients that are packed with nutrients.
After eating raw for a while, some adherents to this diet claim one’s complexion takes on a healthy glow, a.k.a. “the raw food glow.”
Doesn’t hurt to try, right?
I was initially inspired to explore this diet a few years ago, when I ate at my first vegan raw foods restaurant. We were served raw pizza, salad, and I also tried a bite of my friend’s lasagna.
Everything was extremely delicious and tasty, and I did not miss the dairy products or the cooked ingredients at all.
The salad that I ordered was so delicious and satisfying, I used it as the inspiration for the salad that I shared here, adjusted according to my personal tastes.
I do not eat 100 percent raw, but I have increased my raw food intake considerably, and I always feel great and look great after eating this way.
I love the thought of living food. This means some of those good nutrients that you are consuming are still alive, since they are fresh and have not been degraded with time or via exposure to excessive heat.
To get the most nutritional impact, it’s best to source locally grown ingredients that were recently harvested, rather than items that required lengthy travel or endured long periods on store shelves before they reached your plate.
The only drawback here is that some raw recipes require a dehydrator or a lot of ingredients to make. I do, however, recommend purchasing a dehydrator of your own – it’s a great investment, one that will open up your raw eating possibilities immensely!
This particular recipe is easy to make, and perfect for raw food diet newbies – no special equipment required, and it really fills you up.
Some raw foods are not very filling, and you’ll need to prepare several side dishes to make a good hearty meal. But this is not the case with this special salad.
You Are What You Eat
Think about eating a big, greasy hamburger with fries versus a nice big, raw salad. Imagine how the latter is going to affect your health for the better, and therefore affect how you look and feel in a good way.
Your body’s health is affected drastically by what you eat. So, before picking up an unhealthy snack, remember that you literally are what you eat! This leads us to the wonderful health benefits of eating raw.
According to Charlie Trotter, master chef and author of Raw (one of my favorite books, which is available on Amazon), the most important health aspect of eating raw or living foods is enzyme preservation.
Enzymes help you to digest food, and act as catalysts for every metabolic reaction in your body. Trotter claims cooking foods above 118°F destroys these natural enzymes, forcing our bodies to generate more of the enzymes required to digest food.
Some claim our bodies cannot produce the perfect enzyme mix that is naturally present in uncooked foods when consuming cooked foods. And some experts claim this results in partially digested fats, proteins, and starches that can clog your body’s digestive tract and arteries.
These experts have stated that cooked foods deplete our finite enzyme reserve. This is a growing problem as we get older – in old age, you will only have about one-thirteenth the enzyme activity level that you had when you were 18.
The only drawback when eating raw is that it is more expensive and often more time consuming to source and prepare than a more conventional diet. But the payoff makes it well worth it.
When eating raw, the foods must be seasonal, very fresh, and organic. And of course, they must be thoroughly cleaned, rinsed, and dried.
As always, wash your hands thoroughly before touching any food, and use a clean cutting board to prepare your ingredients.
If you want to clean your vegetables extra well, add a little white vinegar to the water. This will help to remove dirt, dust, wax, and some bacteria.
Nuts and seeds and can be germinated or soaked before eating. Again, whether or not you choose to do this really depends on the person, the recipe, and one’s raw food beliefs.
Soaking helps to stimulate germination and brings the seed to life. It also makes seeds easier to digest, and increases the bioavailability of nutrients. This method can also enhance the flavor and texture of these ingredients.
If you choose to sprout your raw nuts or seeds, soak them in water for a few hours or overnight before using.
About This Recipe
Whether or not you are a raw food fanatic, this is main dish salad is satisfying and delicious. Everybody that I have served it to has fallen in love with it.
It’s vibrant, fresh, and full of a variety of textures and flavors, in all colors of the rainbow.
Just one big plate of this savory dish, and satisfaction is guaranteed! It’s filling, thanks to the addition of seeds and nuts, cabbage, sundried tomatoes, and avocado, which are all nutritious and delicious!
I try to eat an avocado a day for all of the healthy nutrition that they offer, and because I love their texture and flavor. I find them to be a great vegan replacement for cheese that’s also filling.
For example, having a sandwich or toast with avocado spread on it instead of cream cheese is rich and satisfying, without the cholesterol or salt, and with the added nutrition of this tasty, green, and fresh produce.
Both are filling, but the avocado has not been cooked or processed, and it’s additive free – you are eating it exactly how nature made it.
General Preparation Methods
Raw food preparation includes various techniques, such as juicing, blending, and dehydrating.
There are several juicing methods available: squeezing as you would oranges, extracting juice from vegetables such as carrots and beets in a juicing machine that uses centrifugal force and a spinning blade, or cold pressing juice with a high pressure machine.
The juicing machine will extract the juice, leaving the tough fibers behind in the filter. You will need a juicer for producing liquid from hard produce in particular, things like carrots and beets.
Dehydration is used for making dried fruits and vegetables, crunchy crackers, chips, jerky, and flatbreads without high-temperature cooking. A dehydrator will remove the water, but the food’s enzymes stay intact thanks to low temperatures and slow cook times.
Vinaigrette Preparation Tips
For salad dressings, I like to use the Jamie Oliver method of mixing them, to make what he calls “jam jar dressings.”
Use an old jam jar and the following foolproof proportions of basic ingredients. This is a classic! Because this salad already has a lot of flavors going on, you don’t need a super fancy dressing with a lot of strong flavors.
The proportions of oil and vinegar or citrus juice should always be the same in all the various dressings you may be creating. This is because these proportions create a tasty balance of sour to neutral, and contain enough oil to stick to the salad ingredients. Thus, your salad will not taste too sour or bitter.
The simple proportions are as follows:
3 parts oil to 1 part something sour or tart, like vinegar or citrus.
Now that you know all about the health benefits of eating raw, and have this delicious and easy recipe with no special equipment required to make it, it’s time to try it out! Let us know what you think in the comments area.
And if you love pesto, be sure to check out these other delicious recipes:
- Camembert Cheese & Pistachio Basil Pesto Bruschetta
- Portobello Burgers with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto
- Caramelized Eggplant and Pesto Pasta
- Fresh Zucchini Pasta with Tomatoes and Homemade Pesto
The staff at Foodal are not medical professionals and this article should not be construed as medical advice. Foodal and Ask the Experts, LLC assumes no liability for the use or misuse of the material presented above. Always consult with a medical professional before changing your diet or using supplements or manufactured or natural medications.
Photos by Kendall Vanderslice, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.
About Lori Jo Hendrix
Lori was born in southern California and currently resides in Mexico. She is an actress and model who also writes in the fields of nutrition, wellness, and cuisine. Her passions include working as a volunteer with various groups in the rescue and rehabilitation of orphaned and injured animals.