There are as many ways of eating raw as there are raw foodists, and I'm not here to praise or condemn any particular diet. I think that each of us has a unique body and mind, and our individual dietary goals should be to connect these two aspects of our being in order to eat in a way that nourishes both. Which begs the question - what nourishes you? Lately I've realized that for me, nourishment means so much more than the nutritional content of the food I eat.
My personal journey through raw has only been a year and half long so far, and I still feel like a beginner at times. As I explore this lifestyle - and I say lifestyle, not diet, because going raw (or even going vegan, for that matter) changes you in so many ways beyond what you eat - I find my culinary inclinations changing. At first I began by adding lots of whole fresh fruit into my diet. Then I added more salads, and experimented with green smoothies. It didn't take long for me to discover the wealth of raw recipe books and internet sites. I'd always loved gourmet cooking, so why not gourmet un-cooking?
My pasta maker was replaced with a mandoline, my toaster with a blender, and my espresso machine with a juicer. The food processor came out of storage and has gotten a steady daily workout every since. My coffee grinder became a flax seed mill, and also made perfect small quantities of dressing and desserts. It's funny how quickly these new techniques became automatic to me. I soon developed a repertoire of standbys, and making zucchini pasta or lettuce tacos became a more natural instinct than poaching an egg.
A year and a half later, and I'm still un-cooking. As I delve deeper into my raw journey, I find myself craving simple foods more and more. Whole fresh fruit, salads, juices - I could almost live on these alone.
Yet I still feel an urge to create gourmet raw dishes, and I suspect this desire comes more from the satisfaction I gain through the creative process than from the pleasure of eating the end result. Don't get me wrong - I love tasting a new dish - but ultimately my goal in the kitchen is to enjoy the process.
So lately I've spent my garden and kitchen time ruminating on the theme of the spiritual nourishment that one gains through food preparation. As a result, I've written a piece entitled "Mindfulness and Food," which can be found on the amazing new website RawPeople.com. Go ahead and have a read, and when you're done explore some of the other fantastic articles covering topics such as choosing a juicer, hydration (and dehydration!), and dining out at non-raw restaurants. The site is a wealth of information and ideas relevant to the raw food world, with the goal of empowering its readers through knowledge. Pretty amazing!
So whatever foods you choose, remember: this is your journey, and yours alone. Slow down, enjoy the process, and let yourself be nourished.