Are you curious about trying to follow a raw food diet? We’ve switched off the ovens and been experimenting with raw food in The Food Rush Test Kitchen.
One thing that can be an issue when eating a raw diet is ensuring you get all the necessary vitamins and minerals. We’ve tested a handful of recipes that are packed full of nutrients. These tasty treats will ensure you’re consuming everything essential to keep you running at your best.
How Raw is Raw Food?
To be a true “rawist” you need to ensure at least 75% of your diet is raw.
For food to classify as raw, it must not be heated or cooked above 46°C. The enzymes in some foods are destroyed with cooking which can make them harder to digest. Many people who follow a raw diet do so to improve their gut health.
Vitamins and minerals can also be lost during the cooking process. So, following a raw diet may increase the nutrients you are consuming. However, some essential nutrients come from foods that must be cooked or heated in most cases – meat, dairy, eggs, oily fish etc.
How can you make raw food at home and ensure you are getting all the vital nutrients you and your family need?
The following quick and easy recipes target specific nutrients that you may find harder to include when following a raw diet. So, grab your apron and get ready to “cook”!
Calcium & Vitamin D
Calcium and vitamin D are essential for bone health. While these are typically found in dairy and meat products, following a raw diet may mean you are consuming lower levels of these nutrients.
Not everyone is ready to include large quantities of raw milk in their diet. It’s not that widely available either. Instead, try these raw food recipes, targeting calcium and vitamin D to keep your levels stocked up.
Ingredients – Makes 10 Balls
3 dried figs – finely chopped
2 tbsp raw honey
¼ cup almond flour
½ cup rolled oats
1 tbsp crunchy almond butter
- Mix together thoroughly
- Squeeze and roll into 10 balls.
- Eat straight away or store in the fridge.
Calcium Super Lunch
Ingredients – Serves 1
7-8 spinach leaves, shredded
2 florets of broccoli, sliced thinly
½ handful of curly kale, shredded
1 tbsp raw almonds, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
4-5 chives, chopped
½ tsp sea salt
- Massage the oil into the broccoli and kale. This helps to soften them slightly.
- Mix the ingredients together .
- Serve immediately.
HDL: The “Good Fat”
Cardiovascular disease is a common and potentially fatal illness. To combat this disease we are encouraged to reduce our intake of Low-density Lipoprotein (LDL) – also known as “bad fat” – and increase High-density Lipoprotein (HDL), “good fat”.
This is to help reduce the risk of developing issues with cholesterol. Good fat is found in oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, herring and fresh tuna. It can be more difficult to consume when following a raw diet (unless you eat sushi at every meal!).
These raw food recipes use ingredients high in omega 3, known to help increase this good fat. Enjoy!
Omega 3 Lunch Bunch
Ingredients – Serves 2
1 avocado, stone removed, peeled and cubed
8-9 baby plum tomatoes
1 handful of basil leaves, ripped
1 handful of spinach leaves, shredded
1 tbsp buckwheat groats
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1 green pepper, sliced
For the Drizzle
1 tbsp avocado oil,
1 tbsp lemon juice
1-2 baby plum tomatoes, crushed and chopped
½ tsp sea salt
- To make the drizzle, mix the oil, lemon juice and salt together and squash the tomatoes in well.
- Mix the salad ingredients together and pour over the drizzle.
- Ensure all the vegetables are coated.
- Serve immediately.
Omega 3 Crunch Top
1 tbsp chopped walnuts
1 tsp raw honey
1 tbsp sunflower seeds
1 tsp sesame seeds
- Mix together until well combined.
- Slice some fresh fruit and crumble the crunch over the top.
Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient needed for healthy nerve and blood cells. Without enough of this vitamin, we can suffer fatigue, headaches and develop anaemia.
Rawists are particularly at risk as vitamin B12 is predominantly found in animal products, such as milk, cheese, meat and fortified cereals. These products are eliminated in a raw diet due to heating and cooking requirements.
Note: the following recipe contains nutritional yeast, which has gone through a pasteurisation process. This is done to remove certain cultures, and thus it is not strictly a raw product. This is probably the most difficult nutrient to include in a raw diet. So consider supplements and medical advice if you are a 100% rawist!
Nutritional yeast is a safe, natural supplement that can assist with your vitamin B12 needs. It will do this without compromising a complete rawist approach to eating. Unfortunately, contrary to belief, there is no evidence to suggest any plant based products contain this essential vitamin.
B12 Pesto Stir Through
Ingredients – Makes 1 cup
1 large pack of fresh basil (large stems removed)
25g of any nuts or seeds
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp water
- Place all the ingredients in to a small food processor bowl and blend until smooth.
- Add water to taste. You can leave it quite chunky or add extra water to make it runnier – whichever you prefer.
The pesto can be used as a condiment to a variety of meals and is a great way to add some flavour to raw vegetable dishes.
Keen to Make Raw Food at Home? Here’s Some Top Tips
If you’re considering a raw food diet at home, keep the following in mind:
A raw diet does need careful consideration, to ensure vital nutrients aren’t missed out. There are many places to find detailed information online. If you are ever unsure, it’s wise to seek medical advice and use supplements where necessary, vitamin B12 in particular.
When followed correctly, a raw diet can improve gut health and general health as there’s no processed food in sight!
Be mindful of the safety of eating some raw foods, such as milk and eggs. Be mindful to keep foods fresh and stored correctly.
A raw diet is easy to follow at home using lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. However, it may be more of a challenge to eat out or attend a friend’s dinner party.
Seeds, nuts, kefir, sauerkraut and miso are all fantastic ingredients to add vital nutrients to your raw diet.
Soaking and sprouting seeds and grains and are wonderful ways to prepare ingredients. It will enhance the nutritional profile of the ingredients and make them easier to digest.
If you’re considering a raw diet and are expecting (or expecting to be expecting), here’s a useful read about natural sources of vitamins for expecting mums.
Whether you’re dipping your toe into the world of cooking raw food at home or you’re a seasoned rawist, we hope you found these recipes inspiring. If you’ve got any raw tips to share, we’d love to hear them! Happy “cooking”!