by Teresa VanDyk Marshall
We love it raw! Vegetables, fruits, nuts and more are just so delicious—even without being cooked!
Some of our readers are very much so believers in the raw food trend while others would like to know a bit more about it. This article is dedicated to both exploring the benefit of munching on living cuisines and sharing with our readers a few popular raw food markets and eateries right here in our own backyard.
Sure, it sounds great right from the start, fresh nutritious whole grains and vegetables, minimal heated cooking costs and no more smells of last night’s chicken dinner wafting through the house in the morning.
That said, proponents of the raw food trend help us understand that it is so much more.
Wait, why am I eating my veggies raw?
After considering the facts, even those of us who have not gone completely “raw” certainly must see the value in integrating raw food diet principles into our weekly menus. When we cook our foods, we are (to one extent or another) breaking down the proteins and losing at least some of the nutrients as these foods heat up and/or oxidize.
New York Times best-selling author Jordan Rubin, in his book The Raw Truth, compiled a series of findings from across the medical community that emphatically show a diet built upon living nutrients can literally transform our health.
Benefits vary. Some who follow the diet strictly report greater mental clarity, less inflammation, higher energy levels and much more. Others report improved digestive function. For example, one health study completed by researchers at Columbia University explored changes in quality of life markers after test subjects stayed at a raw vegan institute. The subjects were assessed upon arrival at the institute and then again several weeks after leaving the institute. Documented in the U.S. National Library of Medicine, their conclusions were that the stay did have a marked effect on improved overall mental well-being.
So, do Raw Foodies really live on salad and naked fruit juice?
Well, fresh vegetable juices and hearty salads are just the start!
Some grains can be sprouted and rice can be soaked overnight to allow them to become digestible. Some soak nuts and seeds, believing this helps to activate their enzymes. “Not Tuna” salads often are a blend of raw foods, including nuts, seeds and other proteins, to create a tuna-like blend that is both refreshing and nutritious. Raw food preparation can include the use of tools including juicers, food processors and dehydrators, often with the goal to achieve the texture and flavor of cooked food.
Where can I try out this raw cuisine?
Whether we are ready to go completely raw or not, there are quite a few cafes and restaurants dotting Central and South Florida nowadays that cater specifically to our raw food yearnings. Here are just a couple of hot spots right in our backyard:
Based in Winter Garden is Café 118. Their innovative menu includes items such as Shiitake Lasagna, Spicy “bean” burrito, Mexican Chopped Salad and a variety of smoothies and juices. Take the raw foodies’ cake!
A little south, in Plantation, we find Greenwave Café, offering flavorful raw, vegan pizzas, lettuce boat tacos and “no tuna” pate sushi rolls. In addition to restaurants, raw food markets are sprouting all over. The best thing a raw foodie can do is bring home the freshest, nutrient rich foods and prep them just before eating them. A green market helps us in this respect.
Based in Palm Beach Gardens is Christopher’s Kitchen. Christopher has created a gathering place where the health conscious of South Florida experience refreshing, creative and healthful cuisine in a warm and friendly setting. The ambiance is serene, modern and unique; a place where casual elegance and an unrelenting passion for the finest organic living food can harmoniously co-exist. Natural light flows into the clean, inviting kitchen offering a tranquil escape from city life and the plaza fountain beckons one to select the option of dining outdoors.
Of course, we are grateful to Whole Foods, Publix Greenwise, Nutrition S’Mart and a variety of local green and farmers’ markets who supply us with Florida’s finest produce each season. There’s also Josh’s Organic Garden located at the Hollywood Beach Boardwalk and 4th Generation Organic Market located in Boca Raton.
So, if you have not already done so, get to know your produce vendors and add a new raw food recipe to your menu this week or pick up a fresh vegetable juice or Not Tuna salad, and make it a fun and tasty adventure to harness the power of living nutrients for your body.