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Natural Awakenings

10 Tips for Eating Raw: Guidelines to Help You Follow a Raw Foods Diet

Jul 01, 2009 03:00AM ● By Chef Matthew Kenney

1. Start with shopping.
The best way to start eating raw is to visit local farmers’ markets in season. The abundance of produce—sweet-smelling fruits, glowing heirloom tomatoes and vibrant greens, none of which have seen the inside of a refrigerator—is better than the best gourmet shop. Let taste be your guide.

2. Stock up on condiments.
Keep a variety of condiments in your kitchen, including raw cashews and macadamia nuts, almond and hazelnut butters, dried sweet dates and seaweeds and nut and olive oils. They make it easy to dress up simple raw dishes and enhance the appeal of salads and raw nori (seaweed paper) rolls.

3. Get the right equipment.
Start with a powerful blender, a food processor and sharp knives. Advanced cooks also use a dehydrator, which costs about the same as a high-quality sauté pan.

4. Perfect your own smoothie.
Simple variations can be made from unpasteurized fruit juices (perhaps made at home). Mix with other fruits and natural sweeteners, such as agave nectar or honey. My favorite is a rich blend made from banana, cacao powder, agave nectar, raw almond butter and either water or coconut water. Use common sense when measuring. It’s decadent, delicious and nourishing, and easy on the digestive system. This shake will power you for hours.

5. Build up to greens.
Green juices can be challenging to prepare at home, so it may be easier to prepare smoothies that are fruit- and berry-based, and then enhanced with green powders. You can mix fruit with fresh collard greens, kale or Swiss chard in the blender. Sometimes, I also add soy or nut milks to smoothies, rather than fruit juice.

6. Practice some of the world’s simplest recipes.
Take gazpacho, for example: Simply blend vegetables, including tomato, cucumber, a bit of fresh red chili, sea salt, citrus or vinegar and perhaps a garnish of diced avocado, and you’re done. It makes a meal in five minutes. Use gazpacho as a jumping-off point for other raw soups.

7. Indulge in fat.
Raw fats from high-fat plants are actually great for you on many levels. For a delicious and nutritious meal, try a small salad dressed with cold-pressed nut or olive oil, and a bowl of homemade guacamole with raw chips, which are now appearing in major organic markets everywhere.

8. Have an all-raw day.
The results of a single raw day will amaze you. Try a green smoothie for breakfast, a big salad or a homemade nori roll for lunch and maybe raw lasagna for dinner, with fruit and nut snacks during the day.

9. The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
For the more adventurous cook, a raw food “pudding” takes no more than 15 minutes to make. Blend young Thai coconut meat, agave nectar, sea salt, vanilla and raw organic cacao powder. This rich, delicious and healthy dessert has no refined sugars. All it requires is a good knife or cleaver to extract the meat from the coconut.

10. Not yet convinced?
Eat one whole piece of fruit before every lunch or dinner for one week. It might be an organic apple or peach, a papaya or mango, or whatever is in season, but it will make for a life-altering experience.

Related Articles:  Healing Foods, Kitchen Essentials for Raw Foods

Matthew Kenney is an award-winning chef, restaurant entrepreneur and international consultant. His cookbooks include Raw Food/Real World and Everyday Raw. For more, see

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