I started experimenting with raw foods after my first trip to practice with Maia in Venice, California. I found myself on the flip-side of a conversation I’ve had far too often with non-vegans, saying phrases that I hear non-vegans say when they talk to me about my diet.
“I would love to go raw, but I don’t have enough time.”
“Raw foods are too expensive for me right now.”
“I don’t really eat a whole lot of non-raw foods, anyways.”
Replace “raw” with “vegan” in those above three quotes, and they’re the exact same phrases I’ve debunked countless times.
The truth is, I love eating raw. I just haven’t figured out how to love eating raw 24/7, at least not yet. My first raw meal was at Mama Pacha, an all-raw restaurant in Santa Fe that I visited on my honeymoon and it was one of my favorite meals I’ve ever eaten. Ben and I shared pizza, tacos, noodles, and the best piece of cake I’ve ever eaten. We went home with beaucoup leftovers and walked out of the restaurant feeling joyful and free. It’s apparently closed now, which is terribly sad, because I’m headed back out to New Mexico this summer and I was looking forward to another visit.
Raw foodists make a lot of wild claims about what eating raw will do for your health and longevity. I won’t repeat them here, because I have no clue how true any of it is. I do know that I feel a sense of lightness and have more energy when I eat raw. I feel brighter and my moods are more stable. I also know that I don’t overeat when I’m eating raw foods. Since overeating can be an issue for me (probably a sign of my addictive nature), I like the idea of anything that can curb that impulse.
After that first visit with Maia, I decided to start cutting cooked food out of my diet. Pretty soon after that, I realized it was easy for me to eat raw foods only until dinnertime, when the ritual and routine of cooking a meal with my husband took over and squashed all desire to stay raw.
To my credit, I’ve tried making raw food that satisfies that craving for traditional meals like pizza, tacos, chili, and pasta. I just haven’t succeeded in making anything that both me and Ben like, except for this recipe for Thai wraps. Maybe the local raw cafe, Ezra’s, will hold a basic raw cooking class that can help me out. Their food is so tasty!
Until I learn how to make a raw pizza that doesn’t taste like cardboard and cold tomatoes, I’ll stick to my raw ’til 5 guns with staples like green smoothies, fruit bowls, veggie-packed salads topped with sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and guacamole. Guacamole is truly my favorite food, and it has been since I was a little girl. Below is my no-frills recipe.The uncomplicated ingredient list really lets the rich flavor of the avocado take center stage. Don’t let it’s simplicity fool you. This is good eats!
1 small tomato (about ½ cup, chopped)
1/3 white or red onion (about ½ cup, chopped)
2 cloves garlic
2-2½ tablespoons lime juice
½ teaspoon salt
- Finely chop onion and tomato. Set aside.
- Slice avocado lengthwise. Spoon out the pit. Scoop out all the avocado flesh and place in a medium bowl, leaving the skin intact. Discard the pit and skins, unless you plan to make avocado-skin “boats” like my mom used to make for me.
- Using a garlic press, squeeze garlic cloves into the bowl with the avocado. Add lime juice and begin to mash with a fork. If you don’t have a garlic press, very finely mince or shred garlic.
- When avocado is roughly mashed, stir in salt, onion and finally, tomato.
- Serve. Try not to eat it all in one sitting.