'Rawgust' is over and we are rolling swiftly into September!
I thought I'd take a moment on this sunny Sunday morning to reflect on a few thoughts of my 'raw food' experience. As I mentioned in my previous post I didn't maintain a 100% raw diet, it was more like 85% as my view was to see it as an exploration and open my mind to new recipes and ideas, rather than a restriction which I may have felt had I been super strict.
>>> NOTE: see my previous post for tips and meal inspiration
This decision to go 'high raw' rather than fully raw was partly based on the fact I had a few family commitments and events I knew I would be attending which would have made life difficult. I decided that a 'high raw diet' would allow me to appreciate most of the benefits and enable me to broaden my raw food repertoire without it feeling pressured or frustrated.
Overall I really enjoyed the month, initially I did miss big hot bowls of porridge (yes, I still eat porridge in the summertime!) and I really missed beans and lentils- such a staple in my everyday diet.
That being said, I really threw myself into creating some amazing salads and lots of raw dressings and dips to go with them. For me, a good dressing can turn any salad from average to amazing :-)
This is definitely something I'll be continuing, as I'd like to aim for at least 50% raw ongoing- basically, i'll be incorporating a smoothie and a big salad every day- pretty easy, right!
I'll post a recipe round up of loads of sauces, dressing and dips from my vegan community in a separate post- hopefully, there'll be lots to inspire you too!
My boyfriend, who took the challenge along with me- who also reminded me that it was his idea in the first place (credit where it's due!!) has, for the time being, decided to maintain a 75-80% raw diet, so we'll still be eating a lot of raw meals together.
My downfall (if anything) was eating too many Bliss Balls, ha ha. I often get carried away anyway when I make them, but during Rawgust I fell into the trap of having even more excuse to indulge.
Many people I know who eat raw, typically follow a high-fruit diet. This is something I have never felt really suits me. When I've experimented with an 801010 (80% carbs, 10% fat 10% protein) style diet in the past I ended up feeling incredibly bloated with the ratio of fruit. I feel I need to incorporate more fats. Maybe that was why one of my favourite meals last month was avocado and tomato on dehydrated flax crackers.
That said, my digestion was, for the most part, really great this last month, even though I have had some tough personal challenges to content with (stress usually impacts my bowels- sorry TMI!) My tummy felt flat and I have lost a little weight. Maybe that's down to the lack of legumes and/or grains... who knows? It will be interesting to see what happens as I add them back.
I'm also not convinced that a fully raw diet is particularly suited to our UK climate during the colder winter months. I know the idea of a nourishing warm meal really soothes me and the abundance root vegetables help ground me. I wouldn't want to forgo soups and stews indefinitely regardless of any nutritional science.
I know there are ways to create 'warmth' in the body whilst consuming raw foods by using ginger and other warming spices to 'fire up' the body, but nothing compares to a big bowl of soup in my opinion! :-)
I also query the environmental angle. I like the idea of aiming to eat more seasonally and locally, (although i'll make it clear I'm not perfect at this by any means), so feasting on tropical fruits shipped from far overseas during our cold winter months, doesn't quite sit right with me. I want to enjoy our abundance of winter vegetable roots and brassicas from the ground during this time.
One final point of interest... I was scanning through all my old health and wellness magazines, as part of my declutter ahead of moving house in a couple of weeks and I found various articles on Ayurveda. I am definitely a Vata Dosha and interestingly one of the things it advised 'Vata's' against was to consume raw foods... how interesting!
I have not looked deeply into the reasoning behind this (but now I am curious to know more), but it did remind me that there is never a 'one size fits all approach' when it comes to food, and that we all need to be intuitive eaters when it comes to what we feel our bodies need.
As an example, I would never directly advise others to eat animal products BUT I do appreciate that we each need to find out own way and tune into what really works for us away from societies expectation and the pressure from the media and those around us.
Most of all, I believe we need to become more curious, more self-aware, more confident and relaxed around food.
Short terms 'Detoxes' and Challenges' (such as Rawgust) create the perfect opportunity for shaking things up, trying new things, re-setting our bodies systems, checking in with any symptoms that might be showing up and reflecting on what we really need deep down.
To break the pattern of the autopilot mode that so many of us function on day to day when it comes to food and lifestyle.
So on that note, I am going to leave you with the recipe for my favourite avocado and tomato salad on raw flax crackers.... ridiculously simple, and definitely one I'll keep on weekly repeat.
I'd love to continue this conversation...
Have you tried a raw diet? Maybe you loosely follow a raw-till-4 approach? Or something else... I'd love to hear your own thoughts, experiences and results.
Recipe: Raw Avo & Tomato 'Toast'
A large handful of cherry tomatoes
Dehydrated flax crackers (quantity to suit appetite!)
Salt and pepper
Sprinkle of nutritional yeast (optional)
Salad leaves (optional)
Flax Cracker Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup ground flaxseeds
1 cup sunflower seeds, soaked overnight
1 cup walnuts, soaked overnight
1 stick of celery, roughly chopped
1 red onion, roughly chopped
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil (including the oil)
1 tsp Himalayan salt
1-2 tsp mixed dried herbs (or other herbs/spices to suit)
a few tbs water to create the right consistency (add gradually)
Method for the flax crackers:
Blitz all ingredients together in a food processor, until thick and sticky, adding a little water add needed (I used approx 1/3 of a cup)
Spread the mix to a 0.5 cm thickness over teflex dehydrator sheets.
Dehydrate at 45C for approx 10 hours, turn over and place onto mesh sheets and return to the dehydrator for another 4 hours.
Cut into any desired slices. Can be stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
Method for the avo 'toast':
There is no real method.... just assemble everything on top of the crackers!
You can slice your flax bread/crackers into larger 'bread style' squares but because I make mine in a large batch I had pre-cut them into small squares for versatility. Either is fine.
NOTE: I originally made a version of this style of raw bread/cracker HERE. At that time I also tried a second batch and spread it out on a lined baking sheet at 'baked' it for approximately two hours on my lowest oven temperature (approx. 80ºC). I covered it loosely with foil after 1 hour to ensure the most even cook. It worked well so it's an option to try if you don't have access to a dehydrator.