So starting a RAW food diet cold turkey is sort of like moving to a foreign country overnight without learning the language or customs. After looking at RAW recipes, I’m realizing I need a RAW to english dictionary. The ingredients lists call for a whole bunch of stuff I’ve never heard of before, and in combinations that frankly seem a little odd.
The whole experience is different. From the items on the grocery list to the trip to the store. The first visit to Earth Fare was a little scary and I felt like everyone was secretly laughing at me. I don’t know how many times I had to ask the poor stock boy where to find stuff, and I think I was in the store for about 2 hours! Who knew that shopping at the organic health food store would feel like infiltrating a secret society?
If you want to add more RAW foods to your diet, you will need to outfit your cabinet with a few basic supplies. The following is a list of items I recommend keeping on hand (complete with pictures & where to find them in the store):
Braggs Liquid Aminos –
Where to Find It: Look for Braggs in the aisle with the soy sauce. Possibly with the vinegars and olive oils.
How to use it: Use this as a replacement for soy sauce or as a “salt” to season foods. Braggs Liquid Aminos contain 16 essential and non-essential Amino Acids (the natural building blocks of protein). It is a product of non-fermented soybeans and is gluten free.
Bragg’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar –
Where to Find it: With the vinegars and olive oils.
How to Use It: You might want to skip this one and opt for something cheaper, but I don’t recommend it. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is used in most RAW dressing recipes. I’ve tried all different kinds of ACV’s and this one is hands down the best.
Cold Pressed Olive Oil –
Where to Find It: In the aisle with the vinegars and oils, possibly with the olives. If shopping in the conventional grocery store you will find it in the baking aisle with the other oils.
How to Use It: You will use olive oil in most everything. It is used in dressings, meat substitutes, doughs for “breads”, and even soups! Most all Olive Oils today are “Cold Pressed”, even though the term itself is considered obsolete. Olive Oils used to be mixed with hot water and steamed during a “second pressing” in an effort to increase its yield. This process would evaporate its delicate flavors. Today, most Olives are harvested when its cold and only heated up to room temperatures during the mixing process.
Virgin Coconut Oil –
Where to Find It: All Coconut Oils will be sold in a jar and will be in a solid to semi-solid form. Look for it in the baking goods aisle.
How to Use It: Virgin Coconut Oil is used in many dressings and in baking RAW desserts. While high in saturated fats, Coconut Oil is comprised of medium chain triglycerides (MCT’s) and lauric acid which are essential in maintaining and building the body’s immunity. MCT’s are more easily digested than fats found in other oils and are immediately converted into energy by the liver. For more on the benefits of Coconut Oil, read this article.
Where to Find It: You will only find this in the organic grocery store or specialty food store. Look for it in the aisle with the peanut butters or the ethnic foods section.
How to Use It: You will use tahini in RAW dressings, sauces, and some pates. Tahini (tah-HEE-nee) is a paste made from ground sesame kernels. Tahini contains natural oils that will separate and rise to the top, so you will have to stir thoroughly before each use. It’s very high in calories and fat (not trans), so watch to make sure you only use the recommended serving size.
Where to Find It: The paste (preferable) is usually in the refrigerated section with the ethnic foods. If you can’t find the paste, you can substitute with Miso soup packets found in the aisle with the Asian foods. The White Miso generally has a more preferable flavor, but you can use any Miso in recipes.
How to Use It: You will use Miso (MEE-so) as flavoring in many recipes. It is usually used in combination with fresh ginger. Miso is generally made from Soybeans and has a mellow, buttery taste.
Coarse Sea Salt –
Where to Find It: The Sea Salt will be found with the other salts in the conventional and organic grocery stores. Be sure to purchase the coarse grain as the Fine Sea Salt has usually been refined. My personal favorite brand is La Baleine. You can find it in most grocery stores.
How to Use It: In place of regular salt for seasoning. Sea salt contains trace minerals that contribute to a more intense flavor.
Agave Nectar –
Where to Find It: With the honey in the organic food store. It might be possible to find this in the conventional food store depending on your region.
How to Use It: Anywhere you would use sugar, you can even use it as a substitute for pancake syrup. Agave (Ah-GAH-vay) is used as a natural substitute for sugar as it has a very low Glycemic Index, it is rather high in Fructose though so it should only be used in moderation. While it has the same amount of calories as sugar per teaspoon, it is 1.5 times sweeter so you will need less nectar than sugar to sweeten. Use sparingly, if at all.
Raw Honey –
Where to Find It: With the sugars and sweeteners.
How to Use It: Use as a sweetener in place of sugar. Honey has more calories per teaspoon than Sugar, but you will use less because it is sweeter. Honey & Sugar both contain glucose and fructose, but unlike sugar Honey contains enzymes that allow our bodies to break down and absorb the molecules. Compared to Sugar, Honey has a low Glycemic Index and is a natural Anti-Bacterial, Anti-Viral, & Anti-Fungal substance.
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