Loving It Raw: Understanding the Raw Food Diet Jennifer Wells
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
A while back I reviewed a book of recipes based around a raw food diet. It was interesting and some sounded mouth-watering – it’s not all plain fruit and vegetables but delicious nut milks, smoothies, dips and dehydrated cakes and bread style foods. It didn’t really tell me how to incorporate raw foods into a daily regime though – this book does.
There’s a few simple recipes to get the reader started, but the main crux of the book is about why and how to incorporate raw foods into one’s lifestyle. What I found really interesting were the argumenta for and against. It was good to see the “cons” set out honestly, and not glossed over. Like all diets there are risks with raw foods and one needs to balance them against the benefits. Life is all about risk assessment and armed with honest information, and advice on how to minimize risk its easier to make a decision. Full marks to Jennifer for including this section – it would be easier to pretend its all beneficial but when an author is honest I’m far more inclined to trust his/her words.
The link between cooked foods and certain illnesses was interesting. I knew that, for instance, BBQ foods and its burned edges has been linked to carcinogenic properties, and yet every summer people get out the BBQ at the first hint of sun. If we accept that risk why then make a fuss about the very few raw food risks. The benefit certainly outweighs it to my mind, and shouldn’t put anyone wanting to go raw food off.
For anyone looking to add raw foods into their lifestyle, even if just part of their diet, this book is packed with sensible, down to earth advice on the practical side. It’s not a “diet” in the accepted sense, but more a healthier way of eating. It’s well worth buying and reading to help you decide why and how to do it.
Stars: Five, it’s a short read, but very honest and practical.
ARC supplied via author.
Eat Raw, Not Cooked. Stacy Stowers
Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.
I’ve an extensive collection of cookery books, from some very old ones found in second-hand shops, to more recent ones based around different foods or chefs. At age nine my youngest child decided she would no longer eat anything that had to be killed for food, so the collection added much more vegetable and fruit based ones. She’s now early thirties BTW and still doesn’t eat anything that has to be killed. There’s a huge market now compared to the 80’s in vegetarian food, but looking at some of the ingredients I can see why they’re anything but healthy! So this book intrigued me – I always thing we – and I’m guilty too – don’t make enough of our vegetables, and though I love fruit raw the thought of raw veg, apart from traditional salads has me head shaking and thinking “what can I do with this to make it appetising???”
Well,this book was a real eye opener for me. There are some amazing photos, and when I read the recipes I would never have connected the ingredients to what I was seeing. I love the way Stacy has taken the ready fast foods everyone loves, and produced something that looks very similar but is far, far healthier. Presumably it tastes good too, from what I’d read. At first I thought I was just going to get a book of salads and more salads as that’s all I could thing of, but here we’ve a complete menu from starters and tasters, to Stacy’s version of pasta, chinese and thai traditionals, tortillas – even the ubiquitous Burger makes an appearance…and the desserts…. wonderful creations and the most mouthwatering chocolate delights.
Though there are few “gadgets” needed, Stacy does give her essential kitchen preparation implements, and for those who don’t have the all singing, all dancing, but very expensive blender, she recommends soaking certain foods beforehand – nuts mainly – so they are easier to blend. I was interested too in how to stop nuts becoming a nut butter or paste when you want them to become flour…If you want more than just a raw food as occasional meal it’s essential I think, from what I read, to buy a dehydrator. In the UK these tend to be a specialist thing – I don’t know if they’re more common in US? I guess maybe its another example of a “divided by a common language” thing. Again, same as for foods, a quick google search has shown me they’re easily available online. Many of the foods mentioned – chia seeds, and green papaya for example – are not commonly seen here in rural UK. Maybe in cities where there are lots of smaller specialist/ethnic food shops, but again the internet means its easy to get most things, or find an adequate substitute.
I’m glad Stacy won the battle to include soups in her Raw food book, like her I think a diet without something warming on a cold winters day would be sad…soups are a compromise and a great way of ensuring nothing is wasted too. That appeals to the side of me that hates food waste 🙂
I think this book is great for those of us who are thinking post Christmas about a more healthy diet, and the recipes are in the main very quick and simple. There’s some I’m determined to try out, and if the cash comes along and isn’t earmarked for something else, I’d love to but a dehydrator as I can see that it makes a more inclusive raw food diet easier to incorporate and so much more varied and interesting. I’m a yoghurt addict and Stacy points out how unhealthy many of the ingredients are in commercial versions, and her substitute looks so easy I’ll certainly try that out. There aren’t long lists of difficult to find ingredients, but mostly based around food that can be found locally, with a few more specialist things that can be ordered from the internet. I think by starting with the easily sourced ingredients and adding a few extras to our normal diet, it would be a small step to take things further and get more involved in a Raw diet. Certainly less of a shock to the average stomach! One of the great things in our hard pressed for time society is that many of these recipes can be partly prepared earlier and as they don’t need lots of cooking they’re incredibly quick to assemble.
Once again I think much as I love my kindle, this is a book that is best as a traditional print version. Until I’d read a few non fiction books I hadn’t thought about this, but its clear that for me fiction is best in ebook, but other books, reference ones, gardening and recipes etc, work best a print versions. Its easier to flick though and find what you want, and you do need colour to appreciate best these amazing, mouth watering illustrations.
Stars: five. One of those books where there really is something for everyone as far as food goes and one where anyone interested in food can learn so much.
ARC supplied by Netgalley