The raw food diet has helped anyone who wants healthy levels of blood cholesterol, healthy blood sugar levels, pain-free joints, clear skin and shiny hair, less cellulite and fat, swift weight-loss, immune system boost, sound sleep, higher levels of energy, increased libido, improving all around mood and much more.
To break this down a bit, for food to be considered raw or living, it must be unprocessed, raw plant foods that have never be exposed to temperatures over 115°F. Raw foodists believe that foods cooked above this temperature have lost much of their nutritional value and are less healthy or even harmful to the body. Raw or living foods have natural enzymes, which are essential in building proteins and rebuilding the body. Heating these nutritious foods kills the natural enzymes, leaving toxins behind in the body. It’s believed that these raw foods all have their own natural healing life force, and when we cook them and change their composition this force is depleted. Why would we do this then?
A lot of people think that eating raw simply includes eating salads and fruits. However, with some creativity it can really be fun and more complex than that. Here is a recipe for "Live Lasagna" which will knock your socks off. It's a bit time consuming, as all parts are made from scratch, but the final product will not disappoint, I promise you that.
(adapted from "You Won't Believe it's Vegan!")
2 medium-size squash
2 medium-size zucchini
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp EVOO
1/2 tsp sea salt
Cut the ends off the squash, and then cut then in half width-wise. Slice as thinly as possible lengthwise using a knife or mandoline, if you have one. Using a mandoline makes the process much quicker and easier.
Mix together the lemon juice, olive oil and sea salt and pour over the squash strips and set aside.
Raw Cashew Cheese
1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for 20 minutes, drained & rinsed
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp sea salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 tsp Nama Shoyu (raw, unpasteurized soy sauce) - optional
In a food processor blend the cashews and 1/2 cup of filtered water until creamy. Add the garlic and nutritional yeast and blend well. Add lemon juice, sea salt, punch of fresh ground black pepper and Nama Shoyu (if using) and mix well. This will last up to 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator and can be used for so many other things (as a dip, for collard wraps, etc.)
Live Tomato Sauce
1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in 3/4 cup warm (not hot) water for 20 minutes
1 tomato, seeded & chopped
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning OR any Italian spices such as: basil, oregano, sage, garlic
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup EVOO
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
In a food processor, blend the water and sun-dried tomatoes until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and blend well.
TO ASSEMBLE (the fun part!)
Drain the marinated squash and blot dry. In a baking dish, arrange the "noodles" along the bottom of the dish. Spread half of the cashew cream evenly over the noodles. I like to include some fresh spinach and baby portabella mushrooms into my lasagna, but any other of your favorite vegetables would be fine. Arrange the veggies evenly on top of the cashew creme and spoon 1/3 of the tomato sauce over top. Add another layer of the squash a repeat the cheese, veggie, tomato sauce layers. The final layers should be noodles topped with tomato sauce. You can optionally sprinkle with nutritional yeast for that extra bit on top!
Cut into pieces, serve & enjoy. This recipe will not disappoint you, take my word for it!
Happy raw eating!