Arizona's Raw Foodies Celebrate the Salad Days

The 2nd Annual Combined Raw Mega Potluck was held at South Mountain Park last night, bringing together food adventurers from as far away as Yuma, Flagstaff and Tucson.

More than 100 Raw Foodies were in attendance; all of the food was of the vegan/raw variety, meaning nothing heated above 115 degrees (the temperature after which the natural enzymes in food begin to die), and including no animal products whatsoever.

The event was coordinated through raw food groups on meetup.com

"The meetups are like a cookbook come to life," said Asha Allen, coordinator of the event. "They keep people inspired and learning new ways to prepare raw dishes."

Among the many dishes offered were some definite standouts, including corn celery salad with a curry pine nut dressing and a traditional Spanish gazpacho.

But by far the best part was dessert! Raw Foodies everywhere know the power of chocolate, not only to lure in newbies but to keep them healthy once they're in the fold.

Kristen Taylor, a raw food chef and author swears by the power of chocolate declaring it to be medicine for the body and mind. She says, "the more we can move away from "Frankenfoods", the better off we'll be". Kristen sells her raw chocolate on her site www.beegreenfoods.com.

At last night's potluck, we counted eight different variations of chocolate desserts. From puddings to pies to squares filled with raw figs, chocolate stole the show.

For more information on a Raw Food diet visit www.happycow.net or www.living-foods.com.

Some recommended cookbooks: The Raw 50 by Carol Alt and David Roth, Raw Food/Real World: 100 Recipes to Get the Glow by Matthew Kenney and Sarma Meingallis, and Rawvolution by Matt Amsden.

For more information about local Raw Food groups and meetups see their information at www.rawfood.meetup.com.

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