Raw Shopping List for Beginners

I wanted to share this.

This is sample shopping menu for people new to raw food.

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It doesn’t have to be expensive! It doesn’t have to be labour-intensive either. I think I spend less time in the kitchen these days and most things are made with a knife, chopping board and food processor. Clean up tends to be super-fast and easy.

I’ve written this because I know many people are too busy to even consider how to revolutionise their kitchen and other times they don’t even know where to start! You can do this slowly by introducing more and more raw foods – and I encourage this because a quick, radical shift in diet can be harder on the body – but if you used this list as the core of your shop you could still include in some of your old treats (bread, crackers, etc), then slowly shift the emphasis onto raw. This list assumes some pre-existing essentials, cocoa (if you eat it), sea salt, pepper, spices, some tinned food, coconut cream, shredded coconut, etc.

My personal goal is high-raw all the time by the year’s end. I’m not fully raw and don’t want to be. I prefer high-raw! I’m also not an advocate of perfection. All things in moderation – including moderation?  That’s how I roll, and how I always want to roll, I don’t want to exclude myself from experiences, however after a while raw just becomes the preference, and it seems like it will drag you down to eat cooked food, so you start to cringe at the prospect of a big, fatty cooked meal after a while! Oddly, the shift into raw has always started as a health decision and remained a choice simply because the food tastes absolutely superior in every way.

I have removed gluten from the kitchen and have some yeast to bake my own gluten-free breads should I have the urge, and sometimes I make pikelets with gluten-free flour instead of cookies or biscuits, if I really have a craving for starchy, sweet food; occasionally I’ll throw in a few dark chocolate chips or raisins. I also occasionally will enjoy a tofu scramble, or a cooked bean dinner with a salad or rice; I always try to keep the cooked meals more protein-oriented. A good gluten-free brand is Macro Wholefoods. It has an affordable price-point and costs under $5 a bag at Countdown.

Some of these items you would not buy every week, so it is reasonably affordable when compared with a standard diet. I wouldn’t call my application the perfect application of raw food. I simply can’t afford to do that, I know some people wouldn’t buy bottled lemon, for example, but when lemons are expensive that will last a long time and is an essential flavour!

Also, if you are just beginning with raw try keep the fat content high, this alleviates cravings and slows down any potential “detox”. You can drop the fat content later as your body adjusts to the change. I am always reluctant to use that term “detox” because it can sound psuedo-scientific, but I’ll frame it in this way instead: when you start eating raw or high-raw, you might get headaches or tiredness. This doesn’t mean the eating style is failing you, it can often be a response to food addictions – imagine that some foods are addictive like coffee – when you give up coffee you might deal with a few days (or weeks) of headaches. It’s the same with sugary foods and drinks, fatty fried foods, products containing gluten, chocolate, many cooked starches and things like margarine – they’re addictive – and this means that when you eliminate them, you can sometimes experience a consequence. I have been known to take a paracetamol or ibuprofen to help me with a headache at that time because I’d rather experience an overall positive benefit of the change in eating-style, than let a headache hold me back.

I’ve also included some suggested meals, below.

SUGGESTED SHOPPING LIST

Fats/oils:

Tahini $7
Sundried Tomatoes $5
Olive Oil $5
300g Pepitas (pumpkin seeds) $5
300g Sunflower seeds $3
Medjool dates $7
LSA $5
Cashews $6

This is the most expensive part, but you’d be unlikely to go through that much each week. I buy tahini probably once every three weeks, sundried tomatoes each fornight, dates each fortnight, and a bottle of oil a month. The LSA and cashews are likely to be used in the week but the pepitas and sunflower seeds ought to last two.

It works out to be roughly $25 per week.

Vegetables:

Buy in season! Don’t get the expensive stuff! Right now that’s:

Apples
Oranges
Plums
Peaches
2 huge lettuces
a huge bunch of bananas
A pineapple
4 avocados
Baby tomatoes
Mung bean sprouts
Alfalfa sprouts
Strawberries
Curly kale
A mango
2 eggplants
Broccoli
1/2 a celery
Beetroot
& carrots

At a good non-organic fruit and veggie shop (I cannot afford organic) this costs under $40. That’s roughly $65 in total though this feeds two people. My son eats more cooked food than me and I have a veggie garden just in which will start to bring the cost down even further. I am also lucky to be given veggies like cabbage, courgette, beetroot and silverbeet from my parent’s garden. Overall, a lot of the veggies will end up lasting longer than the week as well, so the total cost is likely to be less than my estimate.

Suggested menu items include:

Sandwiches with raw bread
Raw marinara with courgette spaghetti
Parfaits
Nachos (with carrot & cucumber “chips”, raw salsa, sunflower seed “refried beans” and a cashew or tahini cream dressing) – recipe coming
Tahini-banana dessert
Chocolate tart
All kinds of creative lettuce-based salads with tahini sauce or balsamic
Fruit salad
Breakfast smoothies
Raw fruit for snacks
Bliss balls snacks
Pizza
Carrot “pasta”
Beetroot salad
Lettuce wraps with satay sauce
The list goes on!

One more thing… a good way to begin is simply swap out a meal each day with a raw alternative. Start by having fresh fruit or smoothies for breakfast, then start having a big meal-salad for lunch, just keep changing out those options until what is new becomes habit.

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Beautiful Raw Chocolate Tart

This is lovely and so easy to make. I’m also happy to feed this to my 15 month old son because it’s not too sweet and all natural!

Yum

Base:

Blend 1/2 cup of LSA, some nuts and seeds, 1 or 2 dates (pitted and soaked for 5 minutes or until it softens) and cocoa. Add some water to moisten into a dough-like consistency and press into a dish.

Chocolate mousse topping:

Blend 1 avocado, 3 teaspoons vanilla, 6 dates (pitted and soaked for 5 minutes or until they soften), two bananas and cocoa to taste – I like mine rich, around 3 tablespoons. When you’re satisfied with the flavour spread the mousse onto the base and chill.

You can serve this chilled or frozen, I prefer to freeze it and then serve the slices and let them stand for about 10 minutes.

Beautiful.

Sultana-sweetened Chocolate

Fuck carob. Yeah, I said it. I want chocolate. 

I don’t, however, want refined sugar.

You can throw almost anything in the mix and this will work. Better still it’s actually healthy. It doesn’t contain any junk and when nut-based it delivers an optimal amount of omegas into your diet.

To make this mixture blend the following ingredients until doughy, taste as you go along; 2 tablespoons coconut oil, 3 handfuls sultanas, 3 handfuls nuts, 2 teaspoons vanilla, 1 handful coconut and 2 tablespoons cocoa. To finish, roll balls in coconut and refrigerate. If the mixture is too dry, you can add in a little water to make it rollable. If too wet, add more nuts or coconut.

You can also substitute or add any of the following ingredients as desired; dates, oats, seeds, carob, agave, peanut butter, almond butter, tahini, ground almonds or any kind of dried fruit or nut at all. ♥

Perfect Raw Chocolate Cake (super easy)

This,  is exactly what I want out of raw food.

When I eat it, my stomach is light, it digests perfectly and there is no sugar rush. It is rich, spongey and nostalgic.

It tastes exactly like the kind of cake I’m  not allowed. You must try it. It’s so quick to make!

You can see I’m very proud of this one. Blissful gratitude in the form of monetary donations will be warmly accepted.

Cake:

3 dates, pre-soaked in water
1/2 banana
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
Dash of vanilla
1 & 1/2 cup ground almonds or almond meal

Ice cream topping:

Frozen bananas
Vanilla
Raisins
Water

Chocolate sauce topping:

1 date, soaked in water
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon nut butter
Sprinkling cocoa powder
Vanilla

Top with:

Crushed walnuts

Mash dates into a syrup*, mix with banana, sprinkle in cocoa, vanilla and then mix in the almond meal until you form a cakey texture. Press into molds and put in the fridge. While that refrigerates, mash up the other soaked date into a paste, add coconut oil, nut butter, cocoa powder and vanilla – whip into chocolate sauce. Those two aspects will keep in the fridge until you are ready to serve. Then when ready to assemble place chopped frozen banana in the food processor, with a little vanilla and a little water to aid blending. When consistency is similar to soft-serve icecream, throw in a few raisins. Assemble by dropping icecream onto the cake, topping with chocolate sauce and crushed walnuts. Serve immediately.

*I prefer to soak dates overnight as they are very firm. Just have enough water to cover the dates entirely. Soaking allows them to be stirred into the water and become syruppy. ♥

Do you like the look of that ^ stuff?

There’s plenty more where that came from.

I successfully wooed a lover with my tahini sauce. As such, I’ve decided to share my secrets with the world.

This is my recipe “tome”. (Thank you Jordan). Instead of writing it all down in a book I figured ‘Why not record it all online? Then others can enjoy the recipes too!’

Like any bunch of scrawled kitchen recipes you’ll notice sometimes I don’t include quantities, and as such, when I omit quantities you just have to taste as you go along until the texture and flavour appeals to you. Sometimes my boyfriend Ginga will make a guest-post as he’s a bit of a sneaky baker too… I’ll try to get him to go easy on the sugar for you.

My food focuses on cooking from scratch and from the garden. I like hearty, healthy, homestyle cooking that is low in sugar and fat, sometimes raw and always vegan. I have been known to steal other people’s ideas and modify those recipes and make them my own. Ignore the plagiarism and please don’t tell on me!

Sometimes I’ll venture beyond food issues as we’re quite enthusiastic about home economics, but I promise I won’t blather on about my personal life – though I can’t make any such assurances regarding his posts.

So that’s it! I hope you enjoy what our kitchen serves up.

xx Jess

P.S. I’m based in a country where we speak the “Queen’s English” and, quite sensibly, use the metric system. So if you see an extra ‘u’ floating about, or a ‘s’ where you think a ‘z’ should naturally reside, please do not be alarmed. It is not my fault. Please take it up directly with the Queen.