Raw foodies argue that heating your food past 115 degrees F destroys the important enzymes found in fruits and vegetables, and by killing these enzymes we're decreasing the nutritional value of our food. These fragile enzymes help us properly and thoroughly digest our foods so we can absorb the vitamins and minerals in our tasty vittles. While I don't think I have the discipline, or the burning desire really, to go raw, I do like taking advantage of the abundance of amazing produce available in the Summer to cook less. And well, go a little raw.
We all know that eating salads and snacking on fresh fruit are great ways to incorporate raw foods into our everyday diets, but let's think outside the box. There is more you can do with lettuce than eat it doused in dressing. Here are five ways to get more raw veggies into your diet.
- We all know about snacking on carrots and celery, but try snacking on cherry or grape tomatoes. I know that technically tomatoes are a fruit, but we think of them as savory. Eat them raw in the Summer and chances are high you will begin to think of them as nature's candy. My favorite variety is Sun Gold; they're a vibrant orange and bursting with flavor.
- I am a fan of adding roasted beets to my salads, but raw beets are great on greens too. Try shredding raw beets on your salad for extra color, fiber, and nutrients. I also enjoy a raw shredded carrot and beet salad with a ginger dressing. The beet juice stains the carrots a lovely hot pink — it's a vibrant dish.
Keep reading for three more ideas.
- Greens are for more than just salad; you can make a soft, leafy, green bed for your lean protein. Place grilled chicken or fish on lightly dressed (emphasis on lightly) baby spinach, baby arugula, or mache, which is a mild, mild green. Another trick for incorporating greens into your life is to top a pizza slice with a handful of arugula. I find the greens absorb the grease from the pizza and don't require a bit of dressing.
- Skip the chips and use cucumber or zucchini disks for dipping into hummus. I usually eat zucchini grilled, but this veggie can be really tender raw when it is young. Try raw veggies as a vehicle for other dips and even salsa. You might just discover an amazing new flavor combination.
- Smoothies aren't just about fruit anymore. The green smoothie is all the rage these days! You can throw spinach, celery, or avocado (which I hear is good whipped up with frozen fruit, but I value the simple taste of an avocado too much to blend it with strawberries or mango) into your morning smoothie with sweet berries and have no clue, except for the color, that you're eating green veggies. Here's a simple green smoothie recipe featuring just two ingredients — peaches and spinach — with a little water. Talk about the taste of Summer!
What are your tricks for getting raw?
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