If you’re looking to upgrade your diet with some raw and wholesome plant based goodness check out my top 10 ways to start with raw food.
Raw foods are becoming increasing popular and appealing as more of us choose to consume less meat, less animal products and consider our impact on the environment.
The negative effects from eating more processed, high salt, fat and sugar laden foods has made many of us literally hungry to discover alternatives.
Our preference now to seek out whole, unrefined plants and whole foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, legumes is growing year on year.
Thankfully the variety of fresh fruits and vegetables easily available to most of us in the UK via supermarkets and market stalls throughout the year is huge!
Partnerships with producers who bring us the most colourful, diverse range of foods from across the world is something I for one, am hugely grateful for.
- What raw foods can you eat?
- You don’t need to go 100% raw to enjoy raw foods.
- 1) Raw juices and smoothies.
- 2) Freshly made dairy-free milks and milkshakes.
- 3) Raw breakfasts.
- 4) Raw vegan salads, bowls and sides.
- 5) Raw dips, dressings, sauces, salsa.
- 6) Raw noodles.
- 7) Raw wraps.
- 8) Raw soups.
- 9) Sprouts and microgreens.
- 10) Raw vegan sweets and desserts.
- Create meals without always having to cook.
What raw foods can you eat?
Foods that you can eat on a raw food diet consists mostly fresh fruit and vegetables, dried fruits, nuts and seeds that haven’t been roasted or flavoured or heat treated.
It also includes food like soaked and sprouted nuts, seeds, beans, grains, micro-greens, seaweeds, raw unpasteurised fermented foods and more.
To discover more about what a raw food diet is and what you can eat on a raw food diet checkout my previous post "What exactly is a raw food diet?" >>>
You don’t need to go 100% raw to enjoy raw foods.
It’s my own opinion that eating a healthy plant based diet shouldn’t be about restricting what you eat, losing weight or making everything you eat 100% raw.
It's more about enjoying the rainbow assortment of nutrient rich goodness, being kinder to animals and choosing to live in a more eco friendly sustainable way.
I don’t try to be perfect, super strict or feel guilty about the food I eat. Mostly plant-based and raw is right for me. You do what’s right for you.
If you’re crazy busy, healthy meals made with little or no cooking is totally a plus and will leave you with more time for other things. YAY!
Image by Stephanie Studer on Unsplash.
So while you’re thinking about what plant based possibilities there are, here's 10 ways you can start right away.
1) Raw juices and smoothies.
This was my way into healthier eating. I prefer juices and smoothies to be vegetable based with a small amount of fruit. They’re a great way to get in leafy greens just by condensing them into a drink.
Freshly made juices and smoothies are full of nutrients and can be super hydrating for your body.
I often dilute juices with water to make them less concentrated and to last longer during my day.
Making these can work especially well in the mornings and at weekends when there’s more time to spend with kids who like to create their own combinations.
2) Freshly made dairy-free milks and milkshakes.
Making fresh dairy-free milks and shakes is easier that you think and they taste amazing!
To me they taste far superior than versions made available in our shops that are often filled with added ingredients.
Great ones to start with are almond milk or oat milk.
How about chocolate and hazelnut or perhaps cherry almond milk shakes or maybe strawberry and banana’s more your style?
3) Raw breakfasts.
If you’re used to having breakfast and it’s something you really enjoy (like me) then raw breakfasts are easy-peasy and super quick to make.
It’s popular in the raw foodie community to eat fruit for breakfast and that can be a sumptuously sweet and heavenly experience especially in Summer.
When it’s cold outside, I often long for something heavier than eating fruit. When I’m feeling more adventurous that’s the perfect time for me to try something new.
So my go to breakfasts when it’s cooler is homemade cereal. I like to use ingredients like oats, soaked buckwheat, sprouted quinoa then throw on some seeds.
Sunflower seeds, pumpkin, hemp, chia seeds or flax seeds are all great options.
Lastly I add in 2 or 3 pieces of fruit. Top with dairy-free milk. That’s it.
If you need to have food on the go, you can pack cereal and fruit in a box or jar and carry the milk separately.
If something more fancy is what you’re after how about homemade muesli or a chia pudding? They take about 5 minutes to prepare then you can leave them in the fridge overnight until the following morning.
Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash.
4) Raw vegan salads, bowls and sides.
Bowls have also become a popular salad choice - they look so pretty too. Start with greens and top with a mix of chopped and spiralized vegetables, cooked grains, beans, legumes, raw sprouts or micro-greens. Maybe add some nuts or seeds for crunch and finally add a dressing.
Classic style side salads like coleslaws, tomato salad, cucumber salad, Waldorf salad and many more can be added to most dishes.
The main raw vegan dish of the day for me is a huge salad. And I’m not talking a few bits of lettuce and tomato. I’m talking PROPER salad.
The base of salads like this are leafy greens eg. cos, kale, Swiss chard, rocket, watercress, pak choi. I’ll often begin with more than one type of green.
Topped with fresh chopped, grated or julienned raw vegetables, healthy fats like nuts, seeds or avocados, fruits like cucumber, tomatoes, mango, pineapple whatever you fancy basically.
Add in a beautiful homemade dressing, herbs or spices and you’re off to a fab start.
Building a really great salad doesn’t take much but, a good one can out perform most cooked meals for me.
And you know those big bowls you find shared at parties among friends to pick at? Yep. I’m talking salads that large.
A big raw vegan salad needs to be sustaining and there has to be enough to meet your own personal calorific needs for the day.
5) Raw dips, dressings, sauces, salsa.
Do you like salad dressings, dips, salsas and sauces?
Try creating some of your own raw versions to liven things up a little.
It's not very time consuming or expensive to do.
Your freshly prepared homemade foods contain no nasty ingredients that are often found in our ready made processed versions.
These dishes will add a variety flavours and texture to many meals. They’re a must for a great salad, vegetable noodles, snacks and much more.
6) Raw noodles.
Our much loved obsession with spaghetti is easily replaced with alternatives made from fresh vegetables and fruits. You can make your own versions with courgette, beetroot, sweet potato, butternut squash, carrots, parsnips and cucumbers.
They’re now so popular that you can find ready prepared versions in supermarkets up and down the UK.
Top yours with a gorgeous raw pesto, tomato or alfredo sauce.
7) Raw wraps.
There are so many things you can do with these and again these can be quick and easy to throw together.
Choose the larger leafy greens for your wrap and stuff with chopped vegetables, topped with a sauce or dressing of your choice.
8) Raw soups.
How about a homemade veggie soup? They’re like a vegetable based savoury smoothie. Top them with things like nuts, seeds, raw sprouts.
It's also a great way to use up leftover veggies in the fridge. It’s economical and may help to reduce your weekly food waste.
Gently warm up raw soups if you don’t yet fancy trying them cold.
You could make a big batch of soup and freeze some for another day.
9) Sprouts and microgreens.
Thankfully fresh sprouts and micro-greens have become more widely available in the UK in recent times.
You can easily grow your own for very little money and they’re much nicer than most store bought options. They’re full of nutrients.
Some of my favourites are broccoli, alfalfa, pink radish, sunflower greens, lentil sprouts, quinoa and sprouted chickpeas.
I love these in wraps, salads, bowls and smoothies.
The FSA advises that people in vulnerable groups should always cook sprouts thoroughly until steaming hot all the way through before eating. This includes, pregnant women, young children, the elderly & those with a weakened immune system. This is because some sprouts may contain bacteria.
10) Raw vegan sweets and desserts.
I try to stay away from the premade raw produce in stores and like to make my own versions instead.
You can make a huge array of sumptuous desserts and sweet treat using raw ingredients.
My mouth is watering already.
Create meals without always having to cook.
Once you've found a few raw recipes you really enjoy, start to write them down or save them onto your phone, so that you don't forget.
Very soon you'll have enough raw food dishes to include a few each week.
Challenge yourself to enjoy introducing new techniques, new flavours, new ingredients little by little each season.
Keeping it simple, fun and interesting without taking it all too seriously will help to keep you from feeling bored or overwhelmed.
Please do your research about sprouting as some foods really must be cooked and shouldn’t be eaten raw eg. most beans are toxic unless they have been cooked before eating. Most mushrooms should also be cooked.
As with any change in your diet, you should speak to your doctor before making changes and discuss if including more plant-based and raw foods will be suitable for you.
I’m off to make some tea.
mum, dog owner, lover of raw food