Following a raw food diet means you eat almost nothing that has been cooked or otherwise made using fire. While this may sound very limited, there are still lots of foods available on this type of diet. For example, raw foods, dehydrated foods, sprouted foods and blended foods can all add variety to a raw food diet.
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A good part of a raw food diet consists of just that -- raw foods -- including fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. These are combined together to make salads, main dishes and desserts. For example, green leafy vegetables can substitute for tortillas or wraps and be filled with chopped vegetables that are flavored with oils, vinegar, herbs and spices. Some people also eat raw, unpasteurized dairy products and raw fish or meat as well. Oils made without fire include raw virgin coconut oil and cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil.
Soaked and Sprouted Foods
Grains, seeds and beans are often soaked and sprouted to make them edible without cooking them. Sprouted grains, seeds and beans may be easier to digest, and the minerals they contain may be more readily available because sprouting limits the amount of a substance called phytates in these foods which can bind minerals and make them unavailable. Nuts and dried fruits are often soaked as well. Soaked and pureed cashews can be used to make creamy sauces, for example, or blended with water and strained for vegan cashew milk.
A dehydrator can be used to dry fruits and vegetables, with results that can vary from chewy to crunchy depending on how long you let them dehydrate. It can also dry herbs for later use and make soaked nuts crunchy again. To qualify as raw, your dehydrator should not be set above 115 degrees Fahrenheit. This means that dehydrating meat or fish into jerky wouldn't qualify as "raw" food because for this process, you need the temperature to be at least 145 to 155 degrees to keep the jerky safe.
Juiced and Blended Foods
Fruits and vegetables can be juiced to make delicious beverages. You can also make smoothies or cold soups, such as gazpacho, in the blender. Use a blender or food processor to mix nuts and dried fruits, which you can then roll into balls for an energy-filled snack or dessert or spread thinly in the bottom of a pan to serve as a crust for a dessert.