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Raw Treats

Fri, Jul 27th, 2012
Posted in All Health & Wellness

I have a serious weakness for cookies, as I have probably mentioned before. I have found so many delicious recipes the past few years that I love to make and share with other people. But I really do not want to turn my oven on in this weather. And who does? Even with the air conditioning running, it still makes for a very hot kitchen. These days most treats come in pre-made store-bought form.

I have been eating way too much packaged food full of preservatives and excess sugar, sodium, and fat. I can tell when I start to feel sluggish and gross. I miss the clean, pure feeling of eating fresh food, clean food.

I have experimented with raw foods a lot over the last few years, trying recipes from the Internet and raw food cookbooks. It’s hard to imagine all the amazing things that can be made out of raw foods. People get really creative. It’s not just plain raw fruits and vegetables. You can do delicious things with nuts, seeds, and sprouts as well. One time I made a fake “cheese” spread out of soaked cashews, and it was delicious on crackers. Speaking of crackers, I once made the most delicious crackers of my life using raw foods and a dehydrator. All I did was blend things like onions, flax seed, peppers, spices, and water, spread them on the tray and let them dry.

Raw proponents rave about the health benefits of eating food that hasn’t been heated. The fresh food keeps all of its enzymes, and is more easily digested by the body. Cooking foods can diminish the nutritional value considerably.

I could personally never eat a diet that was 100 percent raw (you cannot make me give up coffee), but I do believe that people need to eat more raw foods than we currently do.

One of the best tools for making raw meals and treats is the food dehydrator. As long as the dehydrator does not get the food above 118 degrees, the food retains its raw benefits and the enzymes are not destroyed.

The downside to eating raw, in my opinion, is the cost. Some of the recipes are filled with raw nuts and dried fruits, which can be pricey. There are also other ingredients used that are hard to find and expensive. There are many ways to get around this, though. I like to buy in bulk at food co-ops to save money. Buying fresh vegetables and fruits in season locally also helps.

Another drawback is the time. If you are using a dehydrator, it usually takes several hours, which means planning ahead, something I am not too great at. But it can be done easily, especially if you set the dehydrator to dry overnight.

I admit that most of the raw foods I have created were desserts. But they are healthy desserts. Some of the most delicious food I have ever eaten was so simple. I like to buy ripe bananas when they are marked down at the grocery store, slice them, and dehydrate them. When they are done, they taste like the sweetest treat, and they are just bananas. It is a great snack for kids – actually any dried fruit is. I have made my own fruit leather by pureeing fruit with applesauce and drying it. The kids love it, and there is no added sugar or preservatives.

I found the recipe for these cookies at www.rawmazing.com. If you are interested in trying some unique, healthy, and delicious recipes, there are many other web sites out there with thousands of free recipes.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring. You don’t have to munch the plain raw veggies anymore and moan about how bland they are. Don’t ever waste time on food you are not excited about, if you can help it. Try something new, buy a new ingredient, use a new spice, and do something good for your body.

Raw Strawberry Thumbprint Cookies

2 cups almonds

1/2 cup unsweetened dried coconut (or coconut flour)

1/4 cup chia seeds

1/3 cup agave nectar or raw honey

1/3 cup grape seed oil (or any other oil)

1 tsp. vanilla

Pinch of salt

5 strawberries, pureed

Place almonds in food processor and process until finely ground. Add powdered coconut and chia seeds and pulse to combine. Add remaining ingredients and pulse until well combined. Roll into a small ball. Flatten and indent the center with your finger. Place on dehydrating screen and fill indentation with strawberry purée. Dehydrate for 6 to 8 hours at 115. Makes 2 dozen cookies.

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