This last year I have been trying different ways of eating to try and regain some of my balance, energy and overall health since bearing and rearing our 2 tinies. Over the next few months I'm bringing you a whole host of wonderful guest posts on a variety of Real Food Diets, from Raw to Paleo. Join me in this series and find the best real food for your mind, body and soul.
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It's common for people to think that preparing raw food takes a long time and if you went by the majority of raw recipe books you'd be right! Most raw recipe books are created by raw food chefs. The recipes are delicious and exciting but also tend to be quite complex and time consuming to make. I love food and when I first started eating raw food nearly 5 years ago I bought the loveliest, shiniest raw recipe books I could find on the internet. I was totally bowled over by the flavour and look of these super-fresh meals but totally under-whelmed by the amount of time it took to prepare them. I loved the idea of eating raw food and how it made me feel but I didn't want to spend my life in the kitchen. I'd always loved playing around with flavours and creating my own cooked recipes so I decided to turn my hand to creating delicious raw recipes that were super quick and easy to make. I pared down the complex recipes I'd found in those chef-written raw recipe books (with ingredients lists as long as my arm!) and refined them for my busy life without compromising on the sophistication and interest of the flavours. I'm pleased to say that my raw food meals quickly took less time to prepare than my cooked meals used to! Of course there are tips and tricks to quick raw food so here is my list of must-haves for people with busy lives who want to experience the energy, vitality and great health that eating raw gives you:1. A good blender - investing in a good blender means you can whiz up raw smoothies, soups, sauces, pates and puddings in no time at all. Blenders range from good hand blenders to commercial blenders such as Blendtecs (my preferred high-power blender) and Vitamixes.2. Quick recipes - although the chef-created raw recipes look and taste really exciting they aren't designed for people with busy lives. Look out for recipes with a maximum of 15 ingredients (preferably with less than 10). I give my clients an army of soups, smoothies, pates and puddings that take less than 10 minutes to make, taste utterly delicious and save them from eating junk or from snacking on too many nuts.3. Preparation - thinking one or two meals ahead will mean that you always have what you need when you're ready to make a meal (i.e. always soak a handful of nuts and/or seeds overnight because you can use them in a breakfast, smoothie or pate the next day and they'll keep in the fridge for up to 3 days, ready and waiting)4. Stock ingredients - make a stock-items shopping list so you always have the ingredients for super quick recipes. There's nothing slower than trying to make raw food from ingredients that need soaking and/or dehydrating! My personal stock quick-recipe ingredients are avocados, spring onions, mineral salt, agave, vanilla essence and a few superfoods. With these I can make something delicious straight away, or add whatever veggies or fruit I have to make a lovely soup, pate, smoothie or pudding. 5. Stock recipes - get well practiced at about 5-10 recipes so that you can quickly put them together, hardly looking at the recipe itself. Favourite stock recipes are my Spicy Tomato Soup, Hazelnut & Banana Superfood Smoothie, Spicy Walnut Pate, Cashew Cheese Sauce, Marinated Mushrooms and Lime Mousse. You can't go wrong with these!Here's a very normal example of the high raw food diet that I eat during a day in my busy and exciting life ...
Saskia's Raw Lime Mousse
At the weekends you can make up a batch of raw chocolates or energy balls that you can snack on during the week. This is great if you've got kids too, because you can all make them together. Before I started raw food coaching I worked away from home. I would make my breakfast and afternoon smoothie as well as my lunch before I went to work. It was a lovely way to wake up as I chopped the veg and admired the colours and textures of the food I was preparing for later. And of course I felt amazing and full of energy! No matter what you're lifestyle it's very possible to eat a high raw diet that's quick, easy and packed full of the nutrition you need to be fantastically healthy, gorgeous and energetic. It's just about having the right pieces in place to be able to make super-quick and deliciously vibrant raw food.
- Breakfast - A smoothie with fruit/veg and dark leafy greens (less than 10 minutes to make, including washing the fruit/veg and the blender afterwards)
- Mid-morning snack - a piece of fruit
- Lunch - salad with raw pate and rice or oatcakes (15-20 minutes including washing the fruit/veg and washing up)
- Tea-time - a superfood smoothie with nut milk and banana (less than 10 minutes to make, including washing the fruit/veg and the blender afterwards)
- Supper - raw soup (less than 10 minutes to make, including washing the fruit/veg and the blender afterwards)
Saskia has made her life's work as a raw food coach, after discovering a turning point in her own life. At the age of 32 she tried a 2-week raw food trial. In those two weeks she went from suffering IBS, eczema, sore joints, bad skin, terrible memory and stress related emotional issues to being completely well again. Sold on the idea of raw food as a way of 'healing the body', she now wants to tell everyone else about it!