Monday, March 25, 2013

Raw Sausage? You're asking for Food Poisoning!

Hi Folks!! I'm excited to report back to you on my raw food class experience.  Another big thanks to Original Herbal Remedies located in Queens, NY for the awesome instruction and great knowledge that was freely and lovingly given!!!!

Where do I begin?  I feel "enlightened" on how to prepare food with out the conventional means.  It's a very creative way to eat and surprisingly extremely flavorful and fulfilling.  I didn't feel like I was missing out on anything.  Because the food was uncooked, no nutrients were lost in the preparation phase.  I got alllllll the nutrients the food had to offer..I was so hyped up!! Full of energy!! My meal was filling...and the 'itis' didn't attack me full throttle after eating.  Hmmmm...makes you think.

We laugh and joke about the 'itis', but it's really wreaking havoc on our digestive system.  We should not make our organs work so hard to digest food. 

The theme for yesterday's class was Italian.  I took a lot of notes on some key points that I'll fill you in on as my story unfolds. 

The menu:
Spaghetti with meat balls and sausage
Alfredo - made with sea kelp noodles
Stuffed peppers
Stuffed tomatoes

The keys to raw food preparation are creativity, technique, having the right tools and combining the right flavors.  Each dish you make (cooked or raw) should have the five flavors: sweet, bitter, salty, sour and spicy.

Tools needed:
  • dehydrator
  • blender
  • food processor
  • good knives
  • cutting board
  • wooden spoons
  • spiralizer
  • mandoline

The dehydrator is used to remove moisture at low temperatures. It's good for making bread, dough, meat balls and sausage.  The Excalibur is the recommended unit. We have an American Harvest NESCO round dehydrator that is not as flexible.

The Excalibur try dehydrator - recommended

American Harvest - NESCO dehydrator (what we own)

A blender is used for making purees and sauces.  We have two blenders at home. A standard Cusinart and a VitaMix.  The VitaMix is a beast.  It can do anything! Our Cusinart does it's job too.  You just have to blend longer to get a smooth consistency because it's not as powerful.

VitaMix blender

The food processor is for more dry/chunky blends.  With raw food, you have to be mindful of the amount of water generated (through chopping, blending and mixing) so you don't make the food too soggy.  Any food processor on the market should be suitable.  I would like to get a large one.

Food processor

The spiralizer is for making thin spiral shapes. Food is forced through a die creating the thin shapes.  This is perfect for pasta making. During the class we made yam and zucchini pasta (need to get one!!):

Side view of the spiralizer

Yam pasta made with the Spiralizer

The mandoline is a new tool for me.  It's used for slicing all types of food in various thickness and shapes.  Need to get one!

Mandoline - used to slice zucchini for lasagna
A lot of nuts were used in the preparations for cheese, meat balls, burgers and the Alfredo sauce.  For folks who are allergic to nuts, seeds are a good alternative.  This is where I'm going to do a great deal of experimentation since Caleb is allergic to nuts. 

My favorite dishes were: the lasagna, meatballs, stuffed peppers and stuffed tomatoes. 

The lasagna process - zucchini noodles,  nut and mushroom meat, nut cheese, pesto, tomato sauce

Stuffed pepper - meat, spinach, onions and peppa doos
Stuffed tomato - cheese, olives, spinach

Pizza crust - almond flour, oat flour,  flax seeds, sun dried tomatoes, spices
Pizza - toppings: pinapple, avocado, cheese, pesto, mushrooms, broccoli, olives, spinach

Key take away messages:
  2. When we cook food, the nutrients  are degraded and in some cases totally destroyed.  Leaving the food we eat on a daily basis with little nutrition.  Most of us supplement with vitamins we take orally.  If we eat well we can get all the nutrients we need solely from our food.
  3. The food was SO FLAVORFUL! oftentimes we think of raw, vegan food as gross, cardboard-ish and boring.  This class was an eye opener to me! Loved the flavors and colors and textures!
  4. The food was very FILLING! I couldn't even finish my meal...I didn't need anything else to eat for the day. 
  5. Start slow.  Pick a recipe and perfect it before moving on to more complicated dishes.
  6. We can adapt cooked recipes to a raw version. 
  7. Our taste buds are dead and traumatized by all the processed food we eat.  We can revive them by eating better wholesome foods...and when you do , it will be hard to go back.
  8. If cooking using conventional means add oils and pepper last.  Oils and peppers can degrade while cooking and interrupt digestion.
  9. Soak nuts before using them.  It makes the digestive enzymes more available.
  10. If you are doing living foods, stick with the same theme for a day or two.  The flavors are so potent you don't want to get sick switching from Italian to Indian in one day.
  11. Resource: Dr. Richter's Fresh Produce Guide
This class was great! I am going to try some of these recipes and get the tools I'm missing.  I have been bitten by the living food bug!

I'm also going to keep going to more classes.  More are being offered in the next two weeks.  If you live in the NYC area and are interested let me know and I'll pass on the info to you.

More to come!!!!

Peace and blessings!