What People Eat on Raw Food Diets
By Kirsten Anderberg (www.kirstenanderberg.com)
When I used to eat only raw foods, people would constantly ask me what I ate. It was really weird! As if people could not imagine surviving on raw foods. But really, it is not that complex. It is quite simple really. I was raised eating TV dinners at home, and crap at fast food restaurants, like other American kids. It was not until I joined a cult called “The Source Family,” that I was introduced to raw foods as a new way of eating and thinking. The Source Family ran a famous health food restaurant on Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles. Only raw foods were served at the Source Restaurant for a while, but then over time, cooked food appeared on the menu (to the dismay of those on dishwashing duty). If nothing else, by eliminating cooked foods from your diet, you eliminate *a lot* of the crap that is not healthy to eat in the world. You also do not support as many industrial giants and processed food corporations.
You can figure out how to eat raw foods without sacrificing flavor by looking at what people ate when they lived off the land, and also by learning from a lot of hit and miss cooking from the 1970’s to now. I am no nutritionist. I do not know how feasible or healthy a raw foods diet is for everyone in every climate, but I do know that when I eat only raw foods, even for a day, but even better for several days, I feel much healthier and have more energy, not less. When I ate only raw foods for a few months at a time, I also felt fine. But I was eating gourmet raw foods made with a famous restaurant’s recipes. And made with health concerns taken into account, such as proper combined nutrition coming from those raw foods.
Though I no longer subscribe to many of the dogmas of my Source Family days, they had some interesting food ideas. The Source’s bible, so to speak, called “Liberation,” had a section on food. It said that it was important for people “on the Path” to eat what are called “Satvic foods.” (The patriarch of the Source family drew many of his references from his spiritual father, Sikh Master Yogi Bhajan, as well as from the works of Edmond Szekely on the life and diet of the Essenes, and Yogi Ramacharaka’s yoga series). In “Liberation,” we are told to eat “natural foods eaten in season without “benefit” of fire. All foods should be eaten in a natural state and *raw*…Do not eat anything that has been changed or altered from its original structure and eat nothing that has had any chemical added to it.” “Liberation” goes on to say that there is an elusive enzyme in food that is killed when heated above body temperature, thus heating “killed” essential enzymes necessary for life and proper digestion. This is similar to the concept of “prana” in food mentioned in yogic texts. Szekely says he thinks the food pyramid, so to speak, should be as follows: 30-50% raw fruits, 30-35% raw vegetables, 10-20% raw or cooked grains, cereals, and starches, 5-10% dried fruits, nuts, oily fruits, butter, honey, and fats, and 10-35% cooked vegetables such as beans and peas.
As I said, I am not much for dogma, so I altered my raw foods, but grinding them, baking them in the sun, little tweaks here and there...but on the whole, eating raw foods has always felt healthy to me, and it can be tasty too. We used to make “Essene Bread” in the Source. We would soak 1 oz. wheat berries in water overnight, and in another jar soak 1 oz. lentils (or other grain such as rye) in water overnight. In the morning, we would rinse both jars of grain with water, holding cheesecloth or screens over the jar tops. Then we would put the grains, together, through a grinder. We would grind the grains as fine as possible. Then we would pat them into little patties and dry or “cook” them on hot rocks or a cookie sheet in a hot place (this was southern Ca.). They would bake in the sun all day, and we would have Essene bread for dinner.
My favorite raw foods recipe from the Source is the Rainbow Salad. It sounds bizarre, but it is truly delicious. And it is filling in a way many raw foods are not. This salad, in premise, uses all the colors of the rainbow. It was said in the Source that you could eat this salad once in the morning and once in the evening, for three weeks, as some kind of purifying “Rainbow Diet” that would also keep you healthy. Again, I am no nutritionist, who knows if that is true. I have lived off it a few days and felt great. To make the Rainbow Salad, you put the following things into a bowl: Sprouts (Green), cubed pieces of raw Eggplant (blue), sliced Red Onion (purple), sliced Banana (yellow), chopped Hazelnuts (orange), and chopped Tomatoes (red). Now in a bowl, mash an avocado with minced garlic. (You can also add tamari, Dr. Bronner’s Seasoning Salts, brewer’s yeast, etc., if desired). Now spread mashed avocado/garlic over the salad like dressing and eat.
We used to make raw desserts in the Source also. We made “Honey Cakes” by mixing a cup of rolled oats (oatmeal) with 1 T. fruit juices and up to 1 T. honey. These were formed into cakes and left to dry in the sun all day long. A variation called “Nut Cakes” was also made, by mixing 1 T. oatmeal, with 1 T. bran, 1 T. chopped nuts, and 1 T. honey. These were shaped into little cakes and dried in the sun all day. Raw Pies were also a favorite in the Source. One pie crust was made by mixing together 1 c. fresh raw wheat germ, 1/4 c. unsweetened coconut, 1 t. cinnamon, ¼ c. oil, and 1 1/2 T. honey. This was pressed into a pie pan and chilled until needed. A second raw pie crust recipe involved grinding ½ c. walnuts and ½ c. almonds together. You would then mix the nuts with ¼ c. currants, ¼. c. tahini, ¼ c. honey, 1 t. cinnamon,. ½ t. salt. Press into pie pan and put in freezer until needed. Often we would layer fruits on top of these crusts, then drizzle different flavored sauces over the top, such as sage blackberry sauce, or mint strawberry sauce. We also made nut butter fudge in the Source by mixing a nut butter, such as peanut or cashew butter, with honey, and vanilla. You could then add raisins, and spread it about one inch thick into a pan, and sprinkle sesame seeds all over the top. Put it into the refrigerator and take out once cool, as the seeds are then crunchy. Cut into squares. (Instead of raisins, you can add cocoa powder to half the fudge, then swirl the two together, although I think cocoa powder is cooked).
Another raw food favorite of mine is Gazpacho. Throw the following into a blender or food processor: 1 onion, 2 cloves garlic, 1 cucumber, peeled, 3 tomatoes, 3 stalks celery. Chop 3 green onions and dice 1 green pepper and add to mix. Blend or juice tomatoes to make 46 oz. fresh tomato juice and add that to the mix. Now add ¼ c. olive oil, ½ c. seasoned bread crumbs, 4 T. lime juice, 2 t. salt, ½ t. Tabasco sauce (opt.), and pepper to taste. Serve cold. If you are creative, eating raw foods is not as big a challenge as many think. And the health benefits to eating raw foods can be marked, when raw foods are mixed with proper health knowledge.