But “raw” food isn’t just uncooked food. Proponents say raw food can be heated at very low temperatures, particularly to dehydrate it, which is a common practice. Other “raw” foods are aged or fermented to make them more edible and digestible. And not all raw food is vegan or even vegetarian. Some raw foodists eat eggs, meat and seafood as well as fruits, vegetables and nuts. There are a lot of variations in raw food diets, but they all focus on whole, unprocessed (including unpasteurized) and organic foods. Milk and cheese made from cashews, raw cacao treats, dehydrated chips, and smoothies are all staples of most raw food diets.
If you’re interested in this diet — proponents say it's useful in relieving symptoms of a variety of illnesses, from rheumatoid arthritis to cancer — there’s a new book with helpful recipes to get you started. It's called Annelie's Raw Food Power; author Annelie Whitfield, a former stuntwoman turned naturopath and herbalist, includes recipes that are mostly vegan and inspired by what was available to her living in Costa Rica.
Mixed in with the book's recipes are personal anecdotes of the author’s journey into raw foodism with her family, from London to various locations in Costa Rica, including how her children adjusted to the changes and what they eat at mealtime.
Annelie's Raw Food Power is encouraging in its text rather than preachy, so you really get the feeling that it would be helpful to introduce just a few of these things into your diet rather than have to go full-tilt raw. A number of recipes include special equipment — such as a powerful food processor and blender, a dehydrator and a spiralizer — that might be a bit cost-prohibitive to the unsure. But plenty of other recipes require no special equipment. For example, there are helpful instructions on how to make your own nut milks and cashew cheese.
It’s certainly one of the most unusual cookbooks I’ve ever come across, but it’s packed with lovely photographs that make the food look delicious and quite tempting. I’m just not sure if I’m ready to invest in a dehydrator to make those raw-corn taco shells. Luckily, there’s Spark of Life raw foods that you can find all over town if you want to try raw before you buy.