After researching and writing an article on raw food last year, I was thrilled to be invited to a brunch with Rawlicious Raw Food Chef Peter Daniel. All the recipes and demonstrations in the dvd and cookbook look simple, but most contained ingredients that were far from pantry staples, so I’d been dying to try out the food to see if it would be something that I would enjoy. And it was. On the menu was a buckwheat crepe served with a fruit salad, ice cream and cocoa sauce, then a sprouted buckwheat muesli packed with superfoods white mulberries and goji berries, and drenched in hemp seed milk. All were delicious, decadent and made with unrefined ingredients that had never been brought over 47°C. The crepe had been ‘cooked’ in a dehydrator so that it was able to keep its shape and the ice cream was more gelato-like in consistency and was made with coconut meat, agave nectar, cashews and a bit of lemon juice. A ginger tea was available, made with water that had never been raised to boiling point (the rule of thumb is that you should be able to place your finger comfortably in the liquid).
Raw food is certainly making a splash in South Africa, gaining a following because of its numerous reported health benefits. In a nutshell, raw foodists believe that food raised above a certain temperature in the cooking process destroys vital nutrients, so that no matter how much we eat we aren’t getting what our body desperately needs. The philosophy can cross all diets, from meat-eaters to vegans, as long as ingredients are never raised above a certain temperature. Peter and Beryn Daniel from Rawlicious both follow a vegan-style raw food diet, avoiding animal products such as dairy and meat (though they do use honey). A typical food day for Peter involves a green juice in the morning (nutrient-dense green, leafy vegetables such as spinach and wheatgrass, buffered with apple), chia seed porridge for breakfast, a salad for lunch, and then a smoothie or soup in the evening.
A complete overhaul of your diet is almost impossible to do overnight (Peter believes that changing the food that we eat is often more difficult than changing religion), so one can start small by adding superfoods to your everyday diet. Goji berries, cacao nibs, powder and paste, white mulberries, chia seeds, maca powder, hemp protein and seeds, baobab and spirulina, lucuma, camu camu, mesquite and hemp seed oil are all products that can be added to the food that you eat now for a nutritional boost. The use of wholefoods and organic produce is a must. For more information, visit www.rawlicious.co.za – this is truly a fascinating way of life, but what is most interesting is that there are ways of incorporating the healthy vibrant elements of this diet into your lifestyle now to begin feeling the benefits.