Eat It Raw!

In a sea of processed convenience food, we often overlook the fastest food of all, raw. Needing nothing but a quick chop or rinse, raw fruits and vegetables are full of flavor and good-for-you nutrients; they may just be the perfect food. It’s no wonder that this trend is sweeping across the country like wildfire. Between curing disease, aiding environmental recovery, and the infinite delicious ways to enjoy, raw foods are quickly becoming the cuisine of choice.

The idea is simple: eat raw fruits and vegetables. This doesn’t mean don’t eat animal products, cooked fruits and vegetables and other cooked foods likes grains and beans, which are all healthy in moderation. But raw fruits and veggies are the only foods that you can eat as much as you want and still be healthy, so never worry about eating too much.

Using raw foods to diet or to cleanse is very effective and highly recommended, but not the focus here. It’s not about being extreme, otherwise it’s just a passing fad and not part of regular life. Many people already eat raw foods on a daily basis in the form of salads and snacks, which is great. The next step is to start substituting raw foods where they are usually cooked.

It can take a little getting used to, but once you try out different dishes and ways to enjoy raw foods, you will see how easy it is and how great the rewards are. Try replacing your sautéed veggies in stir-fry with raw ones, or replacing your spaghetti with thin strips of zucchini. You will be amazed at how satisfying and filling dishes based on raw foods can be.  Continue to use beans, cooked grains, and animal products, like meat and cheese, in your dishes as accents. A little goat cheese on your salad, or some crumbled bacon on your zucchini pasta can really liven it up. Once you start experimenting, the ideas will flow into a whole new world of culinary opportunity.

It’s a good idea to shop at markets that feature local and organic produce when possible. These foods are the freshest and have the most nutritional value and taste the best. Between infinite veggie-friendly dips, salads, shakes, raw snacks, and a foray or two into substituting raw for cooked, it’s easy to incorporate 4-6 servings of raw foods per day. The best part is that once you start eating more raw food, you won’t be able to stop! You will crave raw food flavors and the feeling it gives you.


Health Benefits

When we think about the food we eat, it’s often in terms of what we’ll have to do to counteract or minimize its effects… how many minutes on the treadmill will this cookie cost me? If I eat tuna tonight, I can’t have sushi until next week. I want the pizza, but I’ve got to grab some antacids first…

Between calories, toxins, and bodily rebellions, eating has become yet another source of health-risk stress. This is not natural, food is meant to nourish the body and replenish it with vital energy. We should feel good after eating, simple as that.  By incorporating raw foods into a regular diet, you will not only feel good after eating, you will also look great, have more energy, enhance your senses and intellectual functions, and enjoy a whole host of health benefits.

Many of the vitamins, nutrients and enzymes in fruits and vegetables die after being heated beyond 105 degrees Farenheit.  While cooked veggies still offer fiber and other nourishing properties, the health benefit is only a fraction of what you get when you consume them raw. These properties help our cells function and reproduce faster, enabling us to fight disease and infection and stay as healthy as possible. Cosmetically, that means clear and radiant skin, strong shiny hair and nails, and an overall vibrancy that everyone can notice. It also means an increase in vital energy, including libido and ability to stay focused.  Many people notice clear-headedness when they eat a lot of raw fruits and veggies. The senses also experience a boost, food tastes better, aromas are detected with more sensitivity and things feel better to the touch.  It’s also an easy way to instantly lose weight and decrease allergies. Recent studies have shown that a more extreme raw diet can reverse and even completely cure conditions like type one and two Diabetes! These days there are pills for everything from acne and allergies to diabetes and obesity, but these conditions can improve 100% naturally just by eating raw fruits and vegetables.



It can be hard to know where to start when trying to eat more raw, the good thing is that many of the foods we know and love for their delicious flavor are also super healthy.  Whether you enjoy these foods in dishes like salads, shakes, or on their own, they are tasty ways to feel and look great.


Blue, red, black or yellow, berries are loaded with antioxidants and enzymes to support your immune system and delight your palate. Summer is the best time to enjoy fresh berries, you can even pick your own at many farms…one for the basket…one in the mouth.


This member of the citrus family aids digestion and helps detoxify the body. They are super filling and thanks to Florida, we can get them ripe and juicy pretty much year-round.


Dark green leafy vegetables contain tons of vitamins and nutrients essential to a healthy body and mind. This hearty cousin of spinach is great as the base of salads or with dips and sauces.


An apple a day… sure is tasty! Crisp and sweet, apples make a perfect snack anytime of day, slather on some peanut or almond butter and you’ve got yourself a rawlicious treat.


Yes, it’s true, raw cacao is one of the healthiest things to eat, ever. The flavor of un-roasted chocolate is intense and wonderful, just a small amount of it releases pleasurable sensations throughout the body. Most health-food stores now carry ready-made raw chocolate treats, and you can also find products, including raw cocoa powder, online.


Dinner For Two

A dinner that features raw ingredients from beginning to end is the ultimate romantic dinner.  This meal will leave everyone feeling satisfied and full without being weighed down. All of the nutrients in the raw foods will supply plenty of energy for the rest of the evening, whatever it may bring!


Appetizer: Market Salad

A great formula to follow when making salads is three to four fresh greens, one fresh or dried fruit, one type of nut or seed, and one sprinkling of cheese or meat.  Use the best looking ingredients you can find and your favorite types. Iceberg and romaine lettuces are excellent in salads but don’t have as much nutritional value as other greens, so be sure to mix it up and use a combination. This salad uses dark leafy greens, sprouts, and herbs as a base for extra layers of flavor.



1 handful curly parsley

3 leaves kale

1 cup sweet pea shoots

1 bunch Spring ramps (green onion or chives are fine)

3 tablespoons raisins

3 tablespoons walnuts

crumbled parmesan cheese



Chop all of the greens roughly into bite-sized pieces and combine in a bowl with the raisins and walnuts. Toss with your favorite dressing and divide evenly onto two plates, topping each with a few crumbles of parmesan cheese.





Main Dish: Raw Kung-Pao

This dish is unbelievably tasty and filling, and since the veggies are raw, it takes no time at all to throw together. You can use any variety of veggies for this dish and mix it up often to keep it exciting.  If you’re really in a hurry, you can always buy pre-made rice and sauce, though homemade is always tastier and better for you.



2 tablespoons oil

2 medium garlic cloves, minced

1 cup white wine

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 cup soy sauce

½ teaspoon black pepper

1 heaping teaspoon plum sauce

Sriracha chili sauce

3 cups cooked basmati rice

1 cup broccoli, chopped

2 bell peppers, chopped

3 large stalks bok choy, chopped

½ cup chopped daikon

2 leaves napa cabbage, chopped

½ cup cocktail peanuts



In a medium saucepan over medium heat add oil and garlic, sauté until lightly browned. Turn the heat up to high and add the wine and rice vinegar and reduce by half. Add the soy sauce, pepper, plum sauce and bring to the boil for 2 minutes. Add the Sriracha to taste and boil for one more minute. Stir before use.

Divide the rice evenly between two plates and top with the assorted chopped veggies. Sprinkle on the peanuts and pour over the sauce to desired sauciness.



Dessert: Chocolate Shake

Skepticism is natural when it comes to this recipe, but try it anyway. There’s nothing to lose and a silky, creamy, delicious dessert that’s actually good for you to gain.  Better than a milk shake and 100% dairy and sugar free, this is a top-notch recipe to have in your arsenal for years to come.



1 cup cashews, soaked in water 1-6 hours

3-5 tablespoons water from cashews

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 bananas, frozen (if they are not frozen, add 3 ice cubes)

Cocoa powder

Agave nectar or other sweetener like honey or maple syrup



Blend the cashews, water and vanilla until smooth. Add in the banana and ice if necessary and blend to combine. Add in cocoa powder a few tablespoons at a time until desired chocolate flavor is reached, then add in agave to sweeten to taste.  Divide evenly between two mugs and enjoy!


The Big Picture

Raw foods are quick, healthy and delicious. By incorporating at least four servings per day you will keep your body frisky and your mind sharp. It will also contribute to a healthier planet and global food supply system. A diet based around fresh foods is less expensive than a diet based on animal products and processed carbohydrates. Wow your friends, lovers and family with delicious dishes that feature raw food and spread the good word.

Quinoa: Ancient Grain, Modern Gourmet

With so much media, marketing, and hype for healthy eating one can easily forget that food is not only for sustenance, but also for pleasure. Since its heyday, heirloom varieties of quinoa have been preserved impressively well. Until recently it was only available in specialty stores but more and more it appears in its various forms in everyday supermarkets. While the health benefits of this tasty little seed are unmatched by any other grain, it is not a ‘health food’, but a delicious ingredient we are lucky to have access to. It has taken a long time to make its comeback, but the tour is headlining in pantries of modern cooks all over.

As with so many foods that are versatile and nourishing quinoa has ancient roots. Evidence suggests that it has been cultivated for nearly 5000 years. The most widespread cultivation we have records of dates back to South America about 1000 years ago where it sustained the Inca Civilization, one of the most admirable cultures ever known. It was so nourishing that they believed it to benefit them physically, mentally and spiritually as well. They called it The Mother Grain, and considered it a gift from the gods above.  And it did indeed come from above.  As a crop indigenous to the Andes Mountains, quinoa grows at altitudes thousands, even tens of thousands of feet above sea level. So important and central was this crop to the Incans that the first seeds of the year were ceremoniously sown with golden tools by the emperor.

When Christian Europeans came in the 1500’s, quinoa, along with countless invaluable aspects of ancient South American cultures, was dramatically changed. Europeans were not only unappreciative and close-minded when it came to this staple food, but because it was sacred and used ceremoniously in non-Christian ways, they actually suppressed and forbade its cultivation.  Luckily for us, it grew naturally in the wild and continues to offer its versatility, health and gustatory delights today.

Quinoa is one of the healthiest foods available. It is actually the grain-like seed of a leafy plant from the Chenopodium (Goosefoot) genus, opposed to true grains which come from grasses. Perhaps this has something to do with its unique and touted health profile. The main thing to know when it comes to the nutrition of this pseudo-grain is that it is low in carbohydrates, high in protein and fiber, and easily digested.  What makes it special and especially healthful is the kind of protein it offers, that is, complete protein. This protein contains all of the essential amino acids needed to keep humans up and running, something that no other grain does.

Quinoa is an excellent source of nutrition for vegetarians, vegans, people with allergies and other health and dietary special needs. It is gluten free and low on the glycemic index, which means it helps to maintain and regulate blood sugar levels. All in all, it promotes the utmost physical health and provides great alternatives for people with dietary restrictions.

Widely available in different forms, the three main varieties of quinoa are whole, flakes, and flour. They should all be stored in airtight packaging in a cool, dark place, like your pantry. It keeps well for about 6-9 months in the pantry and can also be stored in the refrigerator or freezer to last a bit longer. The flavor of each style is slightly different, in general quinoa has a nutty and earthy flavor, pleasant and deep.

The whole ‘grains’ come in white, red, and black varieties, each with their own subtle differences.  To prepare, add one part quinoa (rinsed) to two parts water or broth, a pinch of salt, bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes, strain any extra liquid, fluff with a fork and let stand 10 minutes. The grains can also be toasted in a dry or lightly oiled pan with aromatics like onion and garlic before adding the liquid to bring out a nuttier flavor. Once cooked, they are small round grains with a bit of a snap to them, naturally al dente.  Cooked quinoa can be used as a substitute for rice, barley, bulgur wheat, practically any grain at all. It is wonderful to add in to soups and salads or serve on its own with a light coating of olive oil and herbs. This versatility makes it a great ingredient for those who are naturally creative in the kitchen.

Quinoa flakes can be your best friend, replacing traditional ingredients with its super-food nutrition in unexpected and delicious ways.  Wherever breadcrumbs are used, weather in a dish like meatloaf or meatballs or as breading for anything fried or sautéed, quinoa flakes are a delicious substitution. In addition to bringing a depth of flavor, the healthful aspects like fiber and protein really boost the nutritional value of the dish. The flakes can also be used to substitute oats in baking to make granola, cookies, fruit loaves and cobblers, and works stunningly well as a hot cereal.

Because it is gluten free, quinoa flour is different than most other flours.  Gluten is responsible for creating the texture of baked goods, so it is best to mix quinoa flour with another type of flour to easily achieve typical results. If you have an allergy to gluten, you can always mix it with rice flour and other starch powders. Quinoa flour can be substituted for flour and other starches when thickening sauces or soups. Even at this level of processing, the flour is high in protein and fiber and incredibly healthful.

Incorporating delicious and natural ingredients into a regular diet is not a chore, but a privelage. If you love to cook or are looking to boost your day-to-day nutrition, quinoa is a must.  Native to the Americas, this delicious food has survived through centuries of political and social upheaval, continuing to offer superior nutrition, flavor and culinary versatility. So do yourself a favor and start experimenting with this super (tasty) food, it will benefit your health, impress your exotically minded friends, and most importantly, tantalize your palate!


Quinoa Granola

This recipe uses quinoa flakes in place of oats to make a hearty and healthy snack or morning treat. Unlike most commercial granola which is just sugar and carbohydrates, this protein packed grab and go snack will provide you with the energy you really need and the flavor you really crave.

In a bowl mix together:

1 cup regular flour

3 cups quinoa flakes

2 tsp cinnamon

sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg

1 tsp baking powder


In a separate bowl, cream together:

¾ sugar

¾ brown sugar

1 stick butter softened to room temperature

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

2 tbs milk or cream


Combine the contents of the two bowls together, adding in ¼ raisins and any other dried fruit, nuts or seeds you like. The mixture should be a bit crumbly but moist enough to stay together when squeezed.  Grease a large cookie sheet with butter and press mixture onto the sheet forming a thin layer across the entire sheet.  Bake at 400 for 15 minutes or until brown at the edges.  Let it cool thoroughly and completely, then break up into snack sized pieces.  Makes 10 hearty servings for you to enjoy with your morning fruit and yogurt or a quick snack during the day.


Quinoa Tabbouleh

This Mediterranean and Middle Eastern salad is fresh, light and delicious.  The traditional recipe calls for bulgur wheat which is so easily interchangeable with whole quinoa.  The best part about this salad is that the proportions are totally up to you, if you like more or less of something, adjust the recipe to suit your taste.


1.5 cups cooked quinoa, any color

1.5 cups chopped fresh parsley, loosely packed

¼ cup chopped fresh mint, loosely packed

2 plum tomatoes chopped

½ medium onion chopped

juice of one lemon

3 tbs good olive oil

salt and pepper to taste


Combine all ingredients unceremoniously, taste for seasoning. Serve room temperature or slightly chilled, be sure to squeeze some extra lemon juice on after refrigeration. Makes 4 servings. Enjoy this salad as a side dish, on sandwiches, or as a light lunch topped with feta cheese.


Quinoa Mozarella Sticks

These are the healthiest mozzarella sticks you’ll ever have, and the most beautiful too.

Crisp outer coating, beautiful gourmet appearance, great flavor with more depth than regular breadcrumbs and at the same time lighter and easier to digest. Using quinoa flakes here instead of traditional flour or breadcrumbs makes this treat low in carbohydrates and low on the glycemic index. Healthy mozzarella sticks…what could be better?


For the breading, in a rimmed flat dish like a baking pan mix together:


1 cup quinoa flakes

1 tbs + 1 tsp salt

1 tsp herbs de provence

¼ tsp hot pepper flakes

½ tsp garlic powder


Using one 8 oz package of low moisture mozzarella, cut 6 sticks about half an inch thick and wide and 4 inches long (standard mozz stick shape), set aside.

Beat together one egg plus 1-2 tablespoons of water in a bowl placed next to the breading.

Working gently with one stick at a time, roll it in the egg, place it in the breading dish and coat gently using the other hand. Put it back in the egg and repeat one time.  Double dip and set aside all 6 sticks.

Heat enough peanut or olive oil to be at least ¼ inch deep in your pan. Throw in a couple of quinoa flakes to test the oil, when they sizzle (not burn), the oil is ready. Gently place the sticks in the pan being careful not to overcrowd it and fry on all 4 sides abut 20 seconds each depending on how hot the oil is or until golden brown.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool for a few minutes, serve up warm and fresh on a bed of greens, with chopped parsley or your favorite marinara sauce.


Spicy Mexican Quinoa Pilaf

Sautee ¼ cup cubed bacon in a pan until just crisp on the outside but not all the way through, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside

Add in 1-2 tbs cumin seed and toast in the oil until fragrant

Add (all chopped):

½ poblano pepper

½ half medium onion

1 long hot green chili

4 cloves crushed garlic

pinch of salt and sauté for 5-8 minutes until the mixture takes on a deep color and juices begin to concentrate on the bottom of the pan

Deglaze with a spoonful or two of water, stock, or wine and stir to pick up the brown bits

Mix in one cup of cooked quinoa with the mixture along with ½ cup of fresh chopped cilantro and the reserved bacon.

Makes one portion large enough to share with up to 4 people. Serve warm and enjoy the savory and smoky flavors of this authentic dish.