The Raw 50 – “How did simplicity get so complicated?”

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The day I received The Raw 50 by Carol Alt in the mail I had to scan through every recipe; curiosity of the “raw” diet was simply killing me.  I curled up with it in bed (yes, I curl up with cookbooks) for some nighttime reading.  Though I somehow didn’t care for the overall writing style (it felt kind of like I was listening to an infomercial), I was excited by the various recipe options.  Of course, the ones calling for a food dehydrator were out, but no matter, there were plenty of others to choose from.  So, just before drifting off, I eagerly jotted down well over a dozen recipes that I planned to narrow down in the morning. 

I don’t know about you, but apparently my brain is not quite as logical late at night.  The next day I carefully read through my selected recipes, to see if there may be any last minute ingredients I might need to pick up for the day’s first experiment.  Oops, that one calls for an ice cream maker.  Shoot, you really do need a food processor on that one, the blender won’t fly.  They need how long to germinate?  Three cups of pine nuts, what do I look like, a bank?  Even with a well stocked pantry and fridge, my hopes of just “whipping up” a new raw food recipe for our dinner that evening were quickly dashed, and I was left muttering the words, “what was I thinking?”

Don’t get me wrong, I think this raw concept has some merit.  Granted, once you get a food dehydrator involved, sucking all of the water out, I am a bit more skeptical, but still I can see how consuming food in its purist possible form is beneficial.  However, the recipes in this book that I felt I could ease myself into were for foods I already eat daily.  Every day I have an all fruit and greens smoothie.  At lunch, I try to have a massive salad of veggies.  I munch on carrots, apples, and peaches during the day, and my favorite snack spread is raw almond butter.  Yet, if I have to plan preparation hours in advance, and make extra shopping trips to track down the rather expensive ingredients, then somehow the very things that appealed to me most about the raw food already in my diet  disappear, ease and convenience. 

As someone who was born with food allergies and autoimmunity, dietary experimenation has always appealed, and I am certainly not writing off the raw food diet at this point.  However, I do feel that some more warming up to the diet, including a few more unique but simplistic recipes and a bit of research on my end into the science, will be required.  Apparently Carol goes more into the science in her first book, Eating in the Raw, something I may have to check out.

If you are someone who is looking to dive into the raw food way of life, who could use some intro smoothie and salad/dressng recipes, or who may need some inspirations for your already raw repertoire, then this book does offer some great recipes and information.  Plus the desserts sound interesting and fairly easy, even for beginners.  If you are a raw rookie, just don’t expect that you will be whipping up three raw meals on your very first day!  Yet, with some forthought, for soaking, germinating, sprouting, etc., and the right equipment there are many interesting sounding meals to be had. 

Beet RavioliI wish I could share some photos of trialed recipes, but I just haven’t worked in the time to plan and prep any of the specific recipes.  As mentioned, the easiest ones, I am pretty much already making, just with my own preferences.  Nonetheless, I still remain ambitious that this cookbook will see some use.  When avocados look a bit better, I will jump on those Lettuce Shell Tacos, and with a little extra ambition, I may just have to give the Broccoli “Cheddar” Canneloni a try.  Luckily, I can share one sample recipe with you from the book, that was conveniently published in a recent Raw 50 interview, the Beet Ravioli with “Goat Cheese.”

Ah yes, one last important thing to note.  While the above recipes are dairy-free, and roughly 95% of the book is vegan, Carol does through in some raw dairy and fish ingredients on the rare occasion.  Okay, one more thing.  I had assumed that the “Raw 50” meant 50 recipes.  To my pleasant surprise, there were many more.  In many cases, a lunch or dinner (counting for only 1 of the 50) included multiple recipes for sides, the main entree, and even dessert!

About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Senior Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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