Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Raw Food for the Rest of Us

Over the summer I went to a raw food party. I know, I know. It sounds weird and it's probably a crunchy California thing, but I had a great time. It was the night before my endoscopy, and for the first time in months I was able to eat a meal that didn't leave me doubled over in pain. I also had a weird, buzzy energy. When I later got my endoscopy results (9 ulcers, esophagitis, and erosions in various parts of my stomach) I really felt that eating raw was the perfect compliment to my Nexium. I got all excited and started reading more about it. I even ate raw, off and on, for most of the summer. There was just one little problem. I don't have much in common with people who eat raw. Let's just say a lot of the people look like this clown.

I'll be nice and won't share his name--but he is a well known "raw foodist." He also has legions of fans, and I don't want any of them to find me and poke my eyes out with incense sticks or beat me over the head with their Birkenstocks. This guy doesn't use soap, shampoo or deodorant because he believes they are rife with toxic chemicals. He also wears medical I.D. tags stating he does not want any pharmaceuticals or IV medications because, again, they are toxic. Are you getting an idea of the people drawn to raw foods? My point exactly.

So, imagine my surprise when I opened Domino magazine today and saw this article on raw foods! The nutritional expert featured, Zoe Sakouitis of Blueprint Cleanse, looked [gasp] normal. A wee bit thin, but I'm a jealous harpy so my judgment may be clouded. It was a tiny blurb of an article, but she bathes, uses things like soap and toothpaste, and--wait for it--even eats cooked food every now and then! Her take on raw foods? Eat raw during the day and don't stress about the burger you had for dinner with friends. Now, that's a philosophy I can stand behind! Healthy eating (and the people who espouse it) can be, dare I say, balanced, normal, and hip. Who knew?

This article really came at a weird time, because since Sunday I've pretty much eaten only raw foods. There's no real commitment on my part to continue, but for now it feels fine. I think the warm weather we had last week got me craving salads and fruit. I told The Mister that I wanted to eat raw until Friday and hopefully flush out all the crap I've been eating since November. After Friday? Who knows. I'll just play it by ear and see how I feel, but I do like how Ms. Sakouitis' does things.

One thing about raw: the desserts are amazing. Every night this week I have inhaled raw cheesecake. There's no dairy (it's made with nuts) but you would never know. It's crazy, and you really have to taste it to believe it. Mikey and I also made some raw fudge today and Oh. My. God. it is so good. It doesn't taste like fudge, though. (I actually hate fudge, so that's a good thing.) It's just chocolate-y chewy yumminess. I love how every now and then you get a taste of salt. The Mister tried some when he got home from work and said, "These are going to be trouble." They are. I've already had 6 or 7 pieces. Here is the recipe, which comes from Raw Food Real World.

Chewy Chocolate Freezer Fudge

2 cups, or 1 16oz jar Raw Almond Butter
1/2 cup + 2 TBS Maple syrup
1/4 raw carob powder
1 TBS (heaping) raw coconut butter
1 tsp salt (I used kosher)
2 tsp vanilla extract

Put everything into your mixer and turn it on. Wait until it comes together.

That's it! I'm not kidding! At this point, it's like super rich, stiff frosting. Mikey couldn't resist licking the spoon.

Then you just put it into a saran wrap lined 8x8 dish, smooth it out, and cover the top with more saran wrap. Kinda like your wrapping a present made of chocolate. Toss that puppy into the freezer.

After an hour, take it out of the freezer and remove it from the dish, unwrap it, and set it on a cutting board. Cut it into 1 inch squares and put back into the freezer in a freezer bag or tupperware--whatever, just put it in something freezer safe. You'll want to store these in the freezer, otherwise the almond butter will just melt at room temperature.

Now you have an easy, healthy, and delicious sweet treat waiting for you!