Hidden Restaurant Items You Never Knew Were Raw & Plant-Based

One of the most common objections I hear from people attempting a high-raw, plant-based lifestyle is that there’s nothing to eat at restaurants, or that they think they can’t go to places with their friends or coworkers for lunch because they think they’ll have to eat the Larabar in their purse for lunch.  Let’s put a stop to that myth–there are plenty of places that actually will serve you plant-based raw or high raw dishes that are more than a boring side salad, (if a place served only salad to raw vegans, it had to be an interesting salad,), and the following are just a few:

Alive in San Fran (before)

Raw vegan salad (Photo credit: Jovan Jimenez)

  • Cheesecake Factory strawberries, salads, lettuce wraps.  This place is truly a hidden gem for raw vegans who want to eat out with friends and not be bored to death with yet another garden salad.  A plate of strawberries is always delicious (forgo the whipped cream, though,) they have a wide variety of salads, and the lettuce wraps (order them without the chicken) are by default vegan and can be made totally raw.
  • Chipotle burrito-style salad.  Vegan burrito options include the beans, rice, corn, fajita vegetables, lettuce, guacamole, and salsa.  You can have it raw by creating a salad from the available raw vegetables, including a couple of lemon or lime slices to top it off with for an extra kick.
  • Denny’s salads, fruit plates, (vegetable sandwich).  Obviously your raw options here are the fruit plate (maybe order 2) and the salad, and if you want to stay high-raw, a vegetable sandwich might be more up your alley.
  • Panera Bread salads (and soups).  The soups aren’t going to be raw, but several are vegan (and labeled as such).  Panera gets fairly creative with their salads, offering them topped with fruit, nuts, etc. depending on the time of the year.  Don’t be afraid to order a “meat” salad without the meat, if the rest of the salad sounds good–trust me, they save money that way anyway!
  • PF Changs lettuce wraps, salad.  Ask for the vegetables fresh, not wok-seared, leave off the tofu, and you get a raw vegan dish.  They also offer salads.
  • Red Robin fruit sides, salads.  They offer apples, carrots, celery, and more as “sides”, so you could easily assemble a meal out of these.  Or get a salad, and choose from toppings like avocado, apple, peppers, and more.  The sesame dressing is vegan but not raw.
  • Ruby Tuesday salad bar.  This pretty much leaves the combinations up to you; enough said!
  • Subway salad, any way you want it.  Last time I was there, they had spinach and avocado as options for salad toppings, and with both, I hardly felt I needed dressing.  If you do need dressing, the sweet onion dressing is vegan but not raw, and the same goes for oil and vinegar
  • Taco Bell veggie Cantina Bowl (r).  By default, this comes with rice, beans, and some sort of creamy sauce, but you can easily order this dish without those options.  Get a cantina bowl with just the lettuce, tomatoes, onion, and guacamole, and it’s totally raw…actually one of the better raw vegan fast food dishes out there!

 

Help me grow this list…what are some places YOU have been and discovered a raw vegan option?  Leave your suggestions in the comments below!

 

What Do I Do With All This Fruit? Here’s the…

So you went to the farmers’ market or scored a deal on a case of fruit on discount.  It’s more than you will eat in a week.  So…now what? What on Earth do you do with all this fruit, assuming you don’t want it to go to waste?

English: Fruit stall in a market in Barcelona,...

Lots and lots of fruit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  1. Freeze some smoothies. Find a smoothie recipe that features whatever fruit(s) you have too many of. If it’s a new recipe,mMake one first to drink now, to make sure you like it! Then, proceed to make several blenders worth of that smoothie recipe. Pour the smoothies into jars of your choice, and freeze them. To thaw, simply leave one jar in the refrigerator overnight, and it should be drinkable by the morning–nice and extra cold!
  2. Make some applesauce and freeze it. The same goes for applesauce. You can make loads and loads of applesauce, and it will keep nicely in the freezer for a long time. When you’re ready to eat it,jJust take one bowl/jar from the freezer and move it to the fridge, leaving it there overnight to thaw out.
  3. Dry it in a dehydrator. This is especially useful if you are also the type of person who needs easy snacks on the go. Dehydrated fruit contains a ton of nutrients, and when you dry it yourself, you can control the temperature…plus, you can be sure to avoid sulfates, which are a common additive to most commercially dried fruits.
  4. Make date nut balls with a bit of your favorite fruit! Use a food processor to crumble about a cup of nuts. Add a couple bananas and a sprinkling of flax seeds. Then, add medjool dates one by one while blending, until you get a giant dough ball rolling around in your food processor. Season as you wish (cinnamon, vanilla, etc.). Add superfood powder if you want. Proportions are up to you, and I’ll publish a recipe soon for the combos I use, next time I whip up a batch. I like making date-cacao balls, superfood date balls, and date-banana balls.
  5. Chop and freeze. Yes, so many items on this list have to do with freezing. Not only is freezing a great way to preserve the nutrients without heat, but you preserve the water content of the fruit as well. There are also so many different ways to freeze, and as a result, so many uses for frozen fruits in various formats. Chop up bananas, mangos, pineapple, apples, berries (no chopping required), kiwis, pears, and more, and freeze them in containers of your choice. This makes your morning smoothies super accessible…just grab a container of frozen fruit, throw it in the blender with some water and agave, and enjoy a morning smoothie. You can even get creative with this and portion out fruits according to your favorite smoothie recipes, so there’s even less work to do when you get hungry.
  6. Share the love. Your freezer is full by now. Maybe you’re tired of dried apples. Or, maybe you just want to share the love. Locate your local food pantry and see if they want some of your fruit. They would probably be glad to take it–just check to be sure, though, as some have policies limiting donations to only canned goods, etc.

What’s your favorite thing to do with a case of fruit (besides eat it straight up!)

Comfort Foods: Stovetop-Free Applesauce Hits the Spot

I’ve always loved applesauce, from childhood onward, and I still love applesauce–only now, I make it a bit differently.  For this to work the best, you’ll need a blender and a juicer, and about 6-8 apples, depending on their size.

apples, ready to become raw vegan applesauce

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups sliced apples (sliced into fourths, cores removed)
  • 1-2 TBS agave nectar (or 16 drops stevia)
  • 2 c freshly pressed apple juice (I like juicing the cores first and then throwing another apple in there if I need to)
  • 1 TBS cinnamon

Instructions:

  • Prepare all ingredients as listed above.  You will probably need 6-8 apples to get all the quantities listed.
  • Add all ingredients to the blender & blend. It’s really that simple!

Tip: If you like your applesauce slightly warmed, you can warm it in a double boiler, using a candy thermometer to gauge temperature.  You could also try the stove top, but just be sure to keep an eye on the temperature even more, as heat is applied much less evenly using this method!

I like taking applesauce with me to eat during the day in a sealed glass container.  When everyone else is pulling out their yogurts, I’m pulling out my applesauce!

It’s also fun to try in the morning with some granola.  Applesauce and granola go really well together, if you’ve never tried it.

Or, you can sit at home and enjoy your applesauce in peace.  Throw on a bit of extra cinnamon and maybe some nutmeg or apple pie spice just for fun.

These are just a few suggestions–what unusual uses have you come up with for applesauce?

apples chopped loosely, in a blender

Make it at Home: Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Trying to get started with more juices, smoothies in your life? Strawberries and bananas together are always a winning combination. Here’s a perennial favorite recipe that’s easy to make at home.

spinach strawberry smoothie

Before you start, a quick note on green smoothies…our ingredients list does call for spinach. This is optional, but if you’re looking to up your intake of leafy greens, give it a try! Green smoothies are great for getting enough leafy greens, especially if you’re not a fan of salad.

Ingredients:

  • 4c strawberries – please try and get organic!
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 c water
  • 1-2c spinach (optional, but a great way to up your intake of greens!)

Instructions:

  • Put all ingredients into your blender.
  • Remember that the spinach is optional–if you’re new to smoothies, you might want to try this recipe WITHOUT the spinach first!
  • Blend everything together for about 15 seconds or until smooth.

Bananas are a great way to make dairy-free smoothies nice and creamy.  They thicken up the texture and also add a nice, tropical flavor.  If you’re trying to give up dairy products, try making your smoothies with bananas and water instead of milk.  If bananas aren’t your thing, try a small handful of cashews instead.  This won’t make your smoothie quite as thick but will give you the effect of having added some sort of milk.

How did you like it?  Did you try it with the spinach, and was it your first green smoothie?  What are some of your favorite smoothie combinations?

Let us know what you thought in the comments section below!

Make Some Carrot Ginger Juice – Easy & Inexpensive

New to juicing and not sure where to start? One of the most popular fresh, raw juice drinks I’ve seen in juice bars is carrot ginger juice.  It’s super easy to make at home, and even better, the ingredients to make it are really cheap.

I tend to drink a LOT of carrot juice…so, if that’s you, too, you might want to buy carrots in bulk.  Most grocery stores will sell you a 5 lb bag of organic carrots for under $4, and that’s cheaper than most conventional vegetables.  Ginger you can get by the pound, too…you don’t need quite as much of it, though!

carrot ginger juice

Ingredients:

  • 9 carrots
  • About 1″ of ginger (see photo)

carrots and ginger, ready to be juiced

Instructions:

  • Pretty straightforward here: Juice the carrots and the ginger in your juicer of choice.
  • Hint: Juice the ginger first – that way, if you have a cheaper juicer, the flavor of the ginger is more likely to get through into your drink!

Other Helpful Hints:

  • What to do with all that carrot pulp? Use it in soups or stews, or mix it into your next dehydrated cracker recipe! Not a fan of it still? It makes great compost.
  • Drink your juice as soon as you make it–it will have the highest concentration of nutrients in doing so!
  • Clean your juicer as soon as you can–it will be MUCH easier to clean if you clean it right away rather than waiting a few hours, when the leftover bits of carrot will have glued themselves on there.
  • Did I mention to buy carrots in bulk? They’re such a cheap vegetable to get organic, and they’re one of those vegetables that is generally tasty at any time of the year. Try looking for bulk bags of carrots in an Asian market if your grocery store doesn’t offer carrots in a large bag.
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Top 5 Cold Weather Fruits and Vegetables for a Raw Lifestyle

1) Apples Apples are a great source of vitamin C and taste great any time of the year—but they deserve an honorable mention for the cold weather because they’re in season in more locations, which means two things: You’re more likely to find them on sale, and they will probably taste better, too. Try a raw vegan apple pie, some applesauce (Chop up 6 apples, juice the cores, add some cinnamon, and blend everything together). Or just slice them up with almond butter, or eat them plain!

English: Apples on an apple-tree. Ukraine. Рус...

Yummy…apples are in season! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2) Butternut Squash Butternut squash is hardy, even through the cold weather. It’s great in soups especially—and here’s some news: you can warm up your soups! Go out and get a candy or meat thermometer so that you can monitor temperature. An easy way to warm soup gently is in a double boiler. This way, the heating occurs more evenly and slowly, and you will be able to keep your food under whatever temperature you believe the “raw” cutoff to be (it’s debated constantly, but it usually seems to be between 105 and 118 degrees Faranheit.)

Cucurbita moschata 'Butternut'. Original descr...

Butternut squash is delicious in soups, curries, and more. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

3) Cabbage Cabbage is so winter-proof that they grow giant ones in Alaska. Think Asian style cabbage salad with carrots, cabbage, sliced almonds, sesame oil, green onions, and maybe some ginger for good measure. Or, try using red or green cabbage leaves as shells for your wraps (same way you would use a lettuce cup).

Giant Green Cabbage

Giant green cabbage…yep, they get that big. (Photo credit: akseabird)

4) Beets Beets are great because they’re root vegetables…and they’re packed with nutrients. If you’re new to beets, try a small amount of shredded beets in a salad. If you already like beets and are ready to go hardcore, try juicing them with some parsley. You can freeze and then cube beets to make them soft—perfect for a raw vegan version of the typical “roasted beet” salad you see in so many restaurants these days.

beet it

Beet salad with walnuts, squash, and arugula (Photo credit: Heather Quintal)

5) Carrots Like beets, carrots are available year round and are packed with lots of great nutrition. Personally, I like to juice carrots nearly every day—they’re a great source of vitamin A and contain calcium as well. You can also dip carrot sticks into your favorite dip, add shredded carrots to a salad, and more.

Carrot diversity

Carrot diversity (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Top 8 Ways to Stay Raw While Traveling

Everyone’s traveling this season—whether you’re flying or driving, chances are pretty good that you’re headed off to somewhere else to celebrate the holidays with your family this season. Now, staying with a raw vegan lifestyle while flying or driving isn’t hard—but most people who don’t plan ahead a little bit will fail at it! Prevent that this season with these easy tips for staying raw vegan while on the go—whether in a plane, train, or automobile.

Aeroplane - Easyjet 2

Taking a plane trip this season? Better make sure you’re prepared so you don’t have an “oh crap” moment! (Photo credit: puddy_uk)

  1. If you’re flying or catching a train, bring some fruit in your carry-on, or purchase some at the airport. Most airports—even the small ones—sell fresh fruit. Try and pick fruits that aren’t in the dirty dozen, meaning that they’ll be ok if they’re not organic. Good choices here are bananas, melon, oranges, etc.
  2. Check to see if your airport or station has a smoothie or juice bar. These are becoming increasingly common, but you might never discover it if you’re not looking for it. Many smoothie places will blend up a creation of just fruit and water upon request, even if it’s not on their menu! Check the directory before you get there so you are prepared and know what to look for.
  3. If you’re driving, pack “munchies” that are friendly to your lifestyle. On my latest road trip, I took 3 bags of homemade zucchini chips and a few bunches of bananas. These things were easy to pack, easy to eat without making a mess, and easy to pack. Bananas and dates are great for the road, since they’re not as sticky or juicy as other fruits, and veggie chips are a great way to ensure you have a steady supply of veggies without having to worry about a fragile salad going bad or some pre-cut veggies needing refrigeration.

    Bananas

    Bananas ARE possible the perfect travel fruit. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  4. Bring lots of good, clean water. If you’re driving, this one’s easy…just pack the water you anticipate drinking and bring it with you. Flying gets a bit more complicated. With the current security measures, you can’t bring liquids in containers over about 3 oz on most planes, so you will have to buy bottled water once you get inside the airport, through the security checks. Pretty much every airport will sell bottled water, so buy only what you need for your flight and/or layover each time you get to an airport.
  5. Learn which fruits and other snacks are easy to eat in a car. We’re talking about low-maintenance, non-sticky, etc. Here are some good choices to get your list started: bananas, dates, zucchini chips, apples, grapes, strawberries, almonds, etc.

    Medjools

    Medjool dates. Pack a box or bag of these relatively mess-free fruits. (Photo credit: foodchronicles)

  6. Learn which fruits and other snacks travel well in a carry-on bag without getting squished. When you fly, your bag gets tossed around, thrown onto conveyor belts, squeezed into tiny spaces, etc. Naturally, you’ll need raw vegan goodies that travel well. Here are some great picks to get you started: dates (in a box or bag), bananas, raw vegan cookies or other sweets, dehydrated corn chips, zucchini chips, almonds, apples, granola, flax crackers. Keep in mind that especially if you pack a lot of dehydrated foods that your body’s water needs will be higher!
  7. Find a restaurant with a salad bar. Or, of that’s not available, find a sandwich place or a cafe that makes salads to order. You can pick the veggies you want in there and dress it with a freshly squeezed lemon and some avocado. Mexican places generally will have avocado available if no one else does, and they usually have a fairly decent selection of veggies, too, so check out any Mexican food places if you’re looking for the one place in the airport that can make you a decent salad.
  8. Learn the art of hotel smoothies. Bring a small hand-held blender with you, grab some fruit from the continental breakfast, and use the ice bucket in your room as the container to make your smoothies in. Works like a charm :)

What are your favorite travel tips for staying raw, high raw, or just healthy in general?

The Top 11 Ways to Eat RAW on a Budget

So many times I’ve heard people tell me that a raw or high raw lifestyle is too expensive, etc–but the truth is, it’s very possible to do it on a budget (and I have been for years!)

Saving Money

Eating raw doesn’t have to break the bank! (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

Without further ado, then, here are the top 11…tips I actually use, and the entire reason I can actually afford to eat raw:

  1. Shop the discount bins. Most conventional grocery stores have better discount bins than the natural food stores, from what I’ve seen.  You just have to look for them, and sometimes you even have to ask the produce manager what they’ll sell you.  For example, I bought about 20 lbs of ripe bananas the other day and paid about $0.29/lb.  Most of them got cut upand frozen and later became smoothies.  Another time they had organic apples in there for less than a dollar per pound.  The other day I picked up some pomegranates for $0.50 each…you get the idea.

    Ripe bananas (should be more ripe)

    Ripe bananas are usually easy to find in discount bins. (Photo credit: VancityAllie)

  2. Eat bananas. They’re high in calories and nutrients, and they’re cheap pretty much anywhere you go.  In most parts of the country, fruits and vegetables right off the shelf tend to be priced over a dollar a pound or more, but bananas will still be less than that.  Get them right before the store is ready to get rid of them, (see the previous tip,) and save even more!  Bananas are great straight up, but if you don’t like them that way, try them in smoothies, with a bit of almond butter, in a fruit salad, on your morning cereal/granola, as banana ice cream, etc.
  3. Freeze fruit to prevent it from going bad. Remember how I said I bought all that fruit from the discount bins?  I froze most of it.  Stores sell fruit in discount bins because they think it might go bad SOON–but it isn’t bad yet, so cut it up into slices or cubes and freeze it to make sure it doesn’t ever get there.  Frozen fruit is great in smoothies, which leads us to our next tip…

    frozen fruit

    Frozen fruit (Photo credit: Emily Barney)

  4. Get some good smoothie recipes.  Smoothies should be a staple–most long-term raw fooders drink them them daily, and they’re a great way to use any fruit that you had to freeze (freeze fruit to prevent it from going bad).  You can pack all kinds of nutrients into a smoothie–nutrients from whole, raw foods.  Try bananas + water + your favorite fruit, mangos + oranges + water, peaches + strawberries + water + banana, etc. You get the idea.  If you would eat the ingredients straight up as they are, you’ll probably like them in a smoothie.  If you’re just starting out with smoothies and don’t have any favorite combos yet, start by making smoothies with only 2 fruit ingredients, plus water to blend.  Once you get good at these, try smoothies with 3 ingredients, and so on.  Do this EVERY DAY, and you’ll have your own signature smoothie combinations in no time!
  5. Make your own kale chips. I chuckle when I see kale chips for sale in some of the higher end grocery stores these days for $7-$12 for a tiny bag.  I buy organic kale for $1 and make my own.  Just chop up some kale, sprinkle on your favorite spices, and dehydrate.  You can dehydrate them in your own on the lowest setting with the door open if you don’t have a dehydrator.

    Kale chips

    Kale chips (Photo credit: joyosity)

  6. Stop buying all those specialty items!  The second I see a recipe book with ingredients like lucuma powder, goji berries, Incan goldenberries, preparation times that require several days, etc, I put it down.  I’m sure the recipes are delicious–I’m just not willing to make a pie that costs $8 a slice to procure.  Now don’t get me wrong–these gourmet recipes are great for transitioning, but they’re not for long term: These gourmet raw foods are usually pretty high in fat.  I even have a couple recipes on here that could be considered “gourmet”…they’re also in the “Transitioning” category.  Again, no disrespect to these authors–it’s just not in my price range since I do this lifestyle on a budget.  Save gourmet stuff for transitioning and special occasions.
  7. Don’t buy everything organic. Yep, I said it.  There is a list called the dirty dozen that tells you which fruits and vegetables you SHOULD buy organic, since they’re the ones that tend to retain the most in pesticides and chemicals.  Fruits and vegetables not on that list tend to be relatively low in pesticides, making it ok to get things like avocados and onions non-organic without worry.

    Various apples

    Apples are on the “Dirty Dozen” list, meaning you should always buy them organic. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  8. Buy in bulk.  Find your local health food store, and hit the bulk bins.  There will generally be some sort of setup where you can scoop as much as you want (or as little as you want) into a bag and then pay by the weight of whatever you got.  Here are just a few of the things you’ll find in bulk bins at many natural foods stores:  sunflower seeds (sprout them!), buckwheat, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, various types of nuts, etc.

  9. Buy potted herbs, and put them in your window. Quit paying $3 for fresh basil or mint, please!!  Spend the $3 instead on a potted plant, and clip the leaves every so often.  You can dry the leaves (just leave them out on a plate for a few days) or refrigerate them if you want to use them fresh (and right away!).  Check your budget at the end of the year–you’ll probably cut your spending on herbs in half by growing your own.

    Basil plant leaves.

    Basil plant leaves. Cut them yourself for pesto, brightening up a salad, or raw marinara. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  10. Make a list before you go shopping.  Not just any list, though–here’s what you do: 1) Check the sale ads for your grocery store to see what fruits and vegetables are on sale.  2) Go pick some recipes that use those items as the main ingredient.  Make your list around what you need for the recipes.  3) Now comes the hard part: Go to the grocery store and ONLY buy what’s on your list.  This is hard because grocery stores are set up by marketing professionals who KNOW how to tempt us…so stay strong, stick to your list, and your wallet will thank you.

  11. Buy seasonal. You can get a good idea of what’s seasonal and what isn’t by looking at the prices in the grocery store.  Usually, things that are seasonal will be on sale, which is obviously another plus.  Seasonal fruits and vegetables taste better, too.  They’re less likely to have been transported in from far away or artificially ripened.

    Seasons

    Summer fruits will be expensive, hard to find, and tasteless in the winter. Always buy seasonal! (Photo credit: ganzoman)

What is your favorite way to save?  Do you have any other tips that should be on this list?  Post them below in the comments!

Top 6 Reasons to LOVE Avocados

Avocado

Avocado (Photo credit: Livin’ Spoonful)

  1. An avocado contains much more potassium than an average banana. Most people go to bananas when they want their dose of potassium for the day, but avocados have been shown to contain much more ounce per ounce. Comparing both fruits, the numbers blow you away: A single avocado has about 975 mg of potassium–a banana, which most people think of as a prime source, only contains about half that, at 487 mg. So, you would have to eat 2 bananas to get the potassium from 1 avocado!
  2. Avocados are one of the only fruits that are high in protein. In retrospect, one avocado packs about 4 g of protein–which is pretty high for fruit. Most fruits are known to only contain less than 1g of protein. How’s that to shake things up a bit?
  3. Many people use avocados in replacement of butter. Avocado spread on toast is actually pretty good, and don’t knock it til you try it! It’s got a creamy texture and is high in healthy fats, so if you’re transitioning to raw, this is a tip to try for sure.  From personal experience, avocados make for a much more filling breakfast or snack than butter. Plus, you get your essential vitamins you wouldn’t get from a stick of butter. Try avocados today :)

    Avocado 91311

    Avocado and cayenne pepper (Photo credit: Tom Dube)

  4. You can benefit from avocados even without eating them. How? Many people put fresh, raw avocados in their hair to moisturize and repair damage within their hair. It makes sense–avocados are high in vitamin E, which is great for both hair and skin. According to some studies, the antioxidants and the amino acids within an avocado helps skin as well. People use avocado face masks, hair masks–you name it–in spas and at home to fight wrinkles and other signs of aging.

    English: Avocado with its cross section. Pictu...

    English: Avocado with its cross section.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  5. Avocados are classified as a fruit (they’re a part of the berry family). Personally, when I was younger I used to think that avocados were vegetables, because they’re not sweet like other fruits. I later found out they actually were fruits (silly me!). As far as nutrition goes, though, they don’t really resemble any other fruits (except maybe the durian, which also has a high fat content).
  6. One last thing, good fats are very essential to a healthy diet–so make sure to pick up your avocados today. Not all fats are bad fats.  Fried foods = bad.  Trans fats = bad…but some fat in your diet is actually necessary and healthy.  So, if you’re serious about your diet, try adding a bit of avocado into your diet here and there, and start living a healthier life!

Eat Raw Vegan, Even in Cold Weather!

Being  raw vegan can prove to be one of the most simple and practical ways of life, but there is one time of the year when things get a little tough to do it all year long. In this article we are going to give you some great advice on how to be able to do this during the winter and in general cold weather situations.

Raw vegan lunch. Spicy seaweed wraps with pean...

Spicy seaweed wraps use warming spices. You can lightly warm the nut butter sauce in your dehydrator or oven on a low setting. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There seems to be a little bit of a misconception that we need to eat raw food cold, but there is nothing wrong with eating raw food that is warm.  In keeping with the definition of “raw”, though, just make sure that it never gets so hot that seeds won’t sprout.  If seeds won’t sprout, they’re dead and not raw–people argue over the cut-off point, with numbers between 105F and 118F, but from personal experience, it’s probably on the hotter end.  Seeds are a bit heartier than you might give them credit for!  Being able to warm food up is an essential thing for raw vegans to be able to do in the winter.

Some of the best tips for the cold weather raw vegan are to add more spices that of a heating nature like ginger, cayenne and garlic. Or, try using a double boiler to gently heat soups and casseroles.  You can use a candy thermometer or meat thermometer to gauge the exact temperature and ensure it doesn’t get too high.

The oven

Use your oven on the lowest setting, and use a candy thermom (Photo credit: mrebert)

Remember how you used to warm things up in the oven?  You can still do that!  Most ovens have a setting as low as 170F–but remember that it would actually take several hours for your food to actually REACH 170F.  Warm food up on the 170F setting, and again, check periodically to get the temperature reading.  You can warm food up easily this way and still keep it under 118F.

If the oven is daunting, use a dehydrator.  There’s generally less flexibility to what you can warm in many dehydrators, due to the stacking tray models many feature, but you can still use a dehydrator to warm food up–and many raw foodies do.

squash-soup-2-small

Raw vegan butternut squash soup

If you think about it, these practices aren’t really any more difficult than the cooking practices you’re probably already used to.  It’s all just a matter of switching up your habits.  Raw vegans who have been doing this for years see it as second nature, and with a bit of getting used to, you can as well!

Hopefully by now, you’re relieved that raw food doesn’t necessarily mean cold food all the time….I know I am!  We encourage anyone who wants to live a healthier life to learn more about the raw or high raw vegan lifestyle.

What’s your favorite way to warm up your food and keep it raw?  Share your tips and tricks with us!