I have a confession: I’ve been at the raw transformation for about a week now and I have covered a lot of ground in that short period of time. So I have a lot to offload here so I’m all caught up and can start posting “real time” (as in: weekly or so, when things are relevant). All my posts will not be this long, I promise. Pinkie swear.
I’m going to throw in some high level point form activities here…
- Started to collect free resources online and found a couple promising ones. I will put the ones I use and endorse under the “Resources” tab on this blog. Like I said, I have many and haven’t made my way through them all yet, so if you know of one but don’t see it there, feel free to send it to me but understand that I just may not have gotten to investigating it yet.
- Happened to meander into a book store and discovered Carol Alt‘s “Easy, Sexy, Raw” book. I cringed at the title, but flipping through it I saw chapters on subjects I needed to know more about. I bought it. Best purchase ever. I have read it cover to cover twice and have learned so much. It will hereafter referred to as “The Book”.
- Started to go through my cupboards and clean up. This transition was a good excuse to get rid of a lot of stuff that has been hanging around too long, like old spices, half full packages of soup mixes or ancient icing sugar. This gave me the opportunity to assess my free space and make note of things I’m about to run out of that I’ll be able to replace with its raw equivalent. All those vegetable oils and designer vinegars are a good example of that.
- Assessed my kitchen tools. I was actually doing pretty well in that department but did make note, based on Carol Alt’s book, of a few tools I would like to have to make a few things a little easier. For example: I’m a hand chopper, but anticipate quite a bit more chopping in my future, so I put “Mandolin” on my list of “must haves”. (Side note: I don’t want anyone to make assumptions about my financial status – my income is average – but I happen to have an itty bit of disposable income at this moment, so I decided to invest in outfitting my kitchen slightly. The need for some new tools is another good reason to transition to a raw diet gradually.) All that being said: the tools are not a “MUST” but they do make life easier. The purchase of a dehydrator opens up some more options to diversify what you can prepare. I bought one at Walmart for $45.00 It’s plastic, round, and will work just fine while I decide if this lifestyle is for me. All the books and sites tout the “Excalibur” brand of dehydrator. It seems to range in price (in Canada) anywhere from $200 through to $450 or so. I must admit, it looks pretty snazzy, functional, and large. I also replaced my cheap blender with a workhorse ($99) and have ordered a spiral slicer ($40) as 3 kitchen stores didn’t know what it was, never mind have one in stock. I’ll enlighten you as to its purpose once it arrives.
- Speaking of large dehydrators, and back to my comment about assessing the free space in my cupboards, I don’t have a huge main floor and there isn’t a lot of free space left. So I’m going to have to get creative in order to find the room for the nut germinating, seed sprouting, and food storage that has to remain functional without creating chaos in my living space. Stuff is going to be moving all the time, not just shelved and used 5 months later. To these ends, I cleared out 50% of my “china cabinet” (aka odd glass storage) by putting things in a box and putting that box in my storage room. Now I have a make-shift greenhouse that is closest to my largest window, but doesn’t get direct sunlight.
- And I’ve done a grocery shopping. I went through “the book” (Carol Alt’s) and found some things I’d like to try and attempted to find the ingredients. I found most of them at Kardish Foods in Orleans (oh, I should also mention that I am attempting to find the majority of what I require in my own neighbourhood. I want to ensure my carbon footprint stays low, and that this whole experience is convenient for me. If it starts to get too complicated, I’m more likely to throw in the towel). They even have raw organic unpasteurized almonds, which were supposed to be hard to find. They are the only ones that will germinate and sprout. So YAY FOR KARDISH!
- Carol Alt mentions raw wild rice and indicates that it can be soaked and consumed without cooking. No one I have spoken to yet has heard of raw wild rice, which is rice that hasn’t been heated\roasted while being processed. I’m going to keep hunting for this as I love wild rice.
- Kardish carries one brand of raw cheese. This made me frown, so the wonderful woman at the store (who is AMAZINGLY HELPFUL….I must get her name and give her a shout out) told me about a cheese shop in our neighbourhood that she believed carried more. This is incredibly important to me as raw milk is still illegal here in la-la land and I was concerned about not being able to find enough dairy. And I love cheese. Almost as much as I love bacon (sigh). Well! Off I went to “Cheddar Et Cetera” at 900 Watters Road (Watters and Trim) and was excited to find that they had over 10 different kinds of raw cheese AND they too were so incredibly helpful, knowledgeable, and interested in what I was doing. I picked up 5 samplings: Blue, Gouda, and Swiss, among them. Most of them are local as well. Total score there folks. (Oh, and they have WINE, amazing designer oils, the whole place had me salivating).
Where I am now:
I’ve made apple chips, am making a fruit leather. I’m soaking almonds and pumpkin seeds for use in recipes, and once they are done soaking, I’ll freeze them. I’m soaking flax seeds so I can start flax crackers tomorrow. All my produce and fruit are ready to become smoothies in the week ahead. I have a raw green “superfood” powder, but will finish the vegan green powders I have first. At over $50 a tub, this will be one of the more expensive ingredients you can buy, so read the label. Because of allergies, I have to skip the ones with strawberries and have to comb through a lot of fine print to make sure they aren’t present in any form. Even if you don’t have allergies, you should read the ingredients and compare the quantities of nutrients to other green powders, and also consider other supplements that you may be taking. Don’t forget that there are maximum daily allowances for some vitamins and minerals that your body stores rather than expels if they aren’t used, such as some of your oil-based vitamins. Edumacate yourself peeps
I think what I’m really working towards right now, aside from gradually converting the food products in my house to their raw equivalents, is to get my groove. I have to figure out what my real essentials will be, how long they take to prepare (soaking, etc), and how quickly I go through them. I am soooooooo comfortable with a cooked diet, the timing of a meal, what spice to have on hand depending on what I’m planning to cook, I can throw a five item meal together and have everything land on the table in the right condition of cooked all at the same time without missing a beat or breaking a sweat. I don’t have this same confidence with a raw diet and this will be one of my largest learning curves.
Items I couldn’t find:
- Raw wild rice
- Raw chickpeas
- Raw sesame tahini
- Spiral slicer
Last point: Carol Alt’s book obviously advocates ‘as raw as possible’ and I have to be clear – I am going to do my best, but I am human. No human can do anything 100% all the time, so I think a realistic goal will be 80% raw and I’ll spend some time between now and January trying to decide what food will make up that other 20%. What would it be for you? I think I’ll still be cooking tomatoes. Tomatoes are healthier cooked. I think I can give up coffee. Since giving up cigarettes, everything else seems really easy. Wine, though….hmmmmmmm. I’ll have to think about that one. A lot. Here are a few more photos of my week….talk to you soon!