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How to Eat Warm Food on a Raw Diet
Fall has come, and with it the cooler days, the rain, even the snow for some. An Oasis of Healing is in Arizona, where even fall and winter are mild seasons. Still, we are aware that for many of you, cooler days bring the yearning for warm meals, which seemingly are not compatible with a raw vegan lifestyle. However, we have good news. You can still enjoy warm and delicious meals that are healing, vegan, and raw – yes, you read it well, RAW warm meals.
This post brings you some of the “tricks” we use to bring the “cooked” textures, flavors, and warmth to our raw vegan recipes.
Before we share our tips, it is important to answer one of the most common questions we are asked: why raw?
Most people ask us why we promote a raw lifestyle. There are many reasons, but the main one is that cooking foods leads to the loss of many nutrients, namely vitamins and minerals, and to the denaturation of enzymes. With heat, enzymes start to change their structure, and once structure changes, function starts to diminish. Function loss starts at 105 F (40.5 C) and is completely lost at 118 F (47.8 C).
Enzymes are specialized proteins that help speed up metabolism, or the chemical reactions in our bodies. They help to build some substances and to break others down.
Considering that EVERY SECOND, 37 thousand billion billion (that is 37 with 21 zeros after it, in case you are wondering) chemical reactions take place inside your body, and enzymes are required for every single one of them, these proteins must be really important. Furthermore, these chemical reactions happen so that the human body can maintain its functional integrity. That is… 37 thousand billion billion chemical reactions per second just in order TO EXIST!!!! This means we need even more chemical reactions, and hence enzymes, for all other processes occurring in our bodies.
On our Blog “How to Eat Healthy, Benefits of a Plant Rich Diet” we explain what happens when we cook foods and why we believe a raw diet will provide you with most nutrients: A pronounced loss of nutrients happens when foods are exposed to high levels of heat, light, and/or oxygen.
How can you still achieve the warmth, texture, or flavors of cooked food without cooking?
There are two main techniques that will help you achieve a “cooked” feeling:
At An Oasis of Healing, we use heated (not boiling) water to warm soups, beverages and other foods while maintaining the nutritional integrity of the ingredients. A food thermometer can be used to measure the water temperature at 105 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can always use water that is hot to the touch but not boiling. Another good idea is to use boiling water to pre-heat the dish, bowl or container in which you are having your warm meal, to further maintain a warm, “cooked-like” feeling.
We consider the dehydrator the raw-foodist oven. Dehydrating foods allows you to achieve the textures and flavors of cooked foods you might be missing, and that warmth sensation so many long for, especially during the cold seasons. There are many recipes in the New Oasis Recipe Book – Stop Making Cancer and on our Blog that use dehydration as the method to achieve divine flavors, and with some creativity you can create healthier versions of almost all your favorite recipes.
Dehydrators set at proper temperatures (105 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit) can give you many of the tastes and feelings of cooked/ baked food while keeping all the nutrients and the natural enzymes in food intact.
The dehydrator can also be used to warm food or to keep it warm. Dehydrators can be used to just warm the food above body temperature while maintaining its enzymatic integrity. This creates a warming rather than a cooling feeling in the body. When you have a warm meal, you can also keep it in the dehydrator, so it stays warm until it is time to enjoy it.
Vanessa Pinto graduated with a degree in Biology and Masters in Ecology from Lisbon University. After graduating, she underwent a series of professional and personal growth experiences, including being an officer in the Portuguese Army, working in countries as diverse as Iceland and Costa Rica. Vanessa became certified as a Yoga and Meditation teacher in rural India.
Being a compassionate person by nature, Vanessa is able to bring her connectedness when working with others while enhancing the importance and practicality of a pragmatic evidence-based approach to facilitating lasting and permanent change. Vanessa is a certified health coach whose specialties are nutrition, exercise, and mind/ body connection. She works both in Portugal, Thailand and USA, where she develops her work closely with people diagnosed with cancer, mainly in the areas of nutrition, movement and health education.