The RAW Truth – Add Some Energy to Your Diet!
By Amanda Skrip
Increased energy, weight loss, and overall improved health are all common claims of adopting a raw food diet. Sounds pretty good, right? The truth is the benefits of a raw foods diet extends well beyond these promises. While I am far from being considered a ‘raw foodie’ I make a point to have raw foods several times a day, and can say, with confidence, this simple act has been truly transformative: I’m not sluggish in the morning, have little interest in sweets and desserts, and have more energy than I did when I was 17!
The basic premise of raw foods lies in understanding cooking temperature. It is believed that heating food (above 116 degrees) destroys enzymes that assist in digestion and absorption of food. There is also the notion that cooking destroys the energy and ‘life force’ inherent in whole foods. So, to reap the most benefits of adding in raw foods, say goodbye to any processed or chemicalized foods that you might currently indulge in, and bulk up on raw fruits, veggies, sprouted grains, nuts and seeds.
Not sure you can do it? Read on for my simple tips to integrate raw foods into your diet that will be as tasty as they are effective. I’ve even included a favorite kale salad recipe. For more recipes, tips, and instruction, I will be teaching a cooking class featuring Simple + Fresh Raw Food Creations on Thursday, August 21 at Whole Foods – Halsted. Mention Healthy in Chicago when signing up and receive a $10 discount!
1- Drink Green: Breakfast is often the easiest time for people to load up on natural energizing fruits. I love suggesting nutrient dense smoothies to clients. The busiest people and pickiest eaters can all find ways to add lots of nutrition to blended drinks without sacrificing flavor. My number one tip? Add raw, leafy greens to your smoothies. Kale, spinach, chard, lettuce, parsley and cabbage are all all loaded with folic acid, iron, and calcium, and when mixed with your favorite fruits, the flavor is virtually undetected. Toss in pineapple or papaya for an extra enzyme boost.
2 – Power Salads: Many people already consume raw vegetables in salads. Too add extra oomph, throw away your iceberg wedges and pre-washed bagged greens and trade up for hearty and healthy greens. I love finely shredding and marinating lacinato kale with lemon, olive oil, and salt to soften and infuse flavor. Collard greens, bok choy, and napa cabbage also work well. Check out the kale salad recipe I’ve provided below.
3- Super Snacks: The truth is, that many of us do not have the time or patience for the soaking, sprouting, and/or dehydrating that is commonly called for in raw food preparation. I love stocking up on goji berries, sprouted seeds, and raw sweet snacks at the health food store. Kai Foods makes a delicious sprouted sunflower seed mix, Two Moms in the Raw granola is insanely delicious, and I could eat an entire bag of Goraw Original Super Cookies.
Amanda Skrip is a natural foods chef and wellness consultant in Chicago. If you are interested in achieving optimal health, visit www.amandaskrip.com, for recipes, upcoming classes, and current promotions. Mention Healthy in Chicago to receive a complimentary consultation to discuss how you can achieve your nutrition and wellness goals.
Raw Kale Salad with Avocado and Goji Berries
This is a raw recipe that is so simple to prepare and so satisfying to eat. The lemon juice ‘cooks’ the greens, making them tender and tasty. For best results, allow the marinade to work its magic for a few hours before enjoying. Pack the salad in the morning and bring it to work for a fresh, cleanse-friendly lunch.
1 small bunch kale (lacinato preferred)
½ avocado, cubed
1 T goji berries
2 T olive oil
¼ tsp sea salt
Chiffonade the kale (cut into very thin strips) and place in a medium mixing bowl. Place avocado and goji berries atop. Squeeze lemon over mixture and add olive oil and salt. Using clean hands, gently ‘massage’ the mixture. Taste, and adjust seasonings to preference. Enjoy!