Welcome to Crunch, where Chow Bella contributor Nina Gruber is exploring healthy eating options -- and reporting back. This week: the Raw Food movement.
Most of us eat a little bit of raw food every day: a salad here, some carrots there, maybe some dehydrated kale chips. But some people take this tendency to a new level, resorting to only consuming raw food, all the time, exclusively. Though the thought of it may make the readers hungry at the lack of substance, this is a very real and very significant movement of food lovers. This diet is nothing to be scared of, though daunting, Raw Foodism can be tasty.
What's that? Raw Foodists eat the way they do to retain the healthful qualities and enzymes present in food that can be destroyed by the heat of cooking. To claim to "eat raw" means that the food you eat is never cooked above 116 degrees Fahrenheit. This is possible by relying on various techniques of food preparation and utilizing the natural, yet maybe not well-known qualities of foods. Through dehydration, soaking, grinding, juicing, pickling, blending, sprouting, and being relatively tactful in general can lead to delicious and filling raw meals.
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The Meal: Pomegranate Café When eating raw, it is not necessary to just eat salads all the time, though this may be what many assume at first thought. To make this point, I visited Pomegranate Café, a New Times' Best Vegan Restaurant, to enjoy their raw everything bagel. I mean, a raw bagel? How can you pass that up for a post like this?
Boasting the full bagel experience with "cream cheese" and an ample list of fillings, Pomegranate does not disappoint the hungry Raw Foodist. Though does it disprove my not-only-salad-consumption point? Not totally -- the bagel, made of "nuts, seeds and veggies" was closer to soft cracker than to bread, offering a savory and garlicky addition to my greens-heavy plate. Held together by flax and chia seeds, plus some other starchy veggies, the bagel itself was not totally stable, but the pieces were raw, soft and tasty acting as satisfying carb replacements. The "cream cheese" was indeed a creamy sauce with great (again, garlic heavy) flavor, but lacking in volume and the classic binding qualities of real cream cheese. And though this was not the soft fluffy bagel of my days in New York, I left stuffed and satisfied after a flavorful lunch.
Compatibility Verdict Raw Foodism is not for everyone, that's for sure. Does this discount their efforts? Not in the least. My meal was satisfying, tasty, and not only salad-based. But yes, eating Raw Food is an intense investment of time, effort, money, and research, as it is a diet far off from our socialized norms of eating here in the States. But hey, how much time, effort, money, and research do you put into your current eating styles? Raw Food is nothing to be scared of, just be sure to bring a toothpick to get those pesky chia seeds out of your teeth when you're done.