Introducing Raw Vegan Fusion Cuisine
Raw Vegan Fusion Cuisine
What You Will Learn:
- Is all cooked food bad for you?
- What is the healthiest way to cook vegetables?
- Can I enjoy the benefits of raw foods if I still eat some cooked food?
If you’ve been following me for a while here and on social media, you’ll know I am all about helping people transition to a plant-based diet and making it work for life. It’s not a cleanse. It’s not a fad. It’s not a trend. It’s a simple, wholesome way to live but there is a learning curve involved and it’s not a lifestyle of rigid black and white rules. We need to make raw foods work in our real lives, period.
You might already know my story and experience with transitioning to a fully plant-based diet. I went vegan at age 14 and stumbled along for years, often returning to dairy products because I just didn’t know how to make veganism work with so few resources and no support or education. This led me to becoming obese when I was pregnant and suffering from an unpleasant array of health challenges, all of which I overcame when I finally made the switch to a raw food diet.
But not everyone needs to be 100% raw for the rest of their lives. And not everyone is ready to go 100% raw vegan overnight. Transitioning off of the standard American diet loaded with cheeses, fried foods, refined processed carbohydrates, meats, etc., is really hard for most people. Sometimes a more gradual and integrated, practical, healthy approach is warranted.
You have options. Delicious ones! This is where my concept of Raw Vegan Fusion comes in.
Raw vegan fusion literally fuses together a tasty mix of raw and gently cooked plant-based foods, enabling you to enjoy a broader range of dishes while training your body to grow accustomed to eating an all-plant diet. I’ve been organically teaching raw vegan fusion for years, but now I’m giving it a name and launching it by developing an ongoing series of recipes and meal ideas for you and your families.
Here, I’ve paired lightly steamed asparagus spears with fresh sliced heirloom tomatoes, juicy cherry tomatoes, raw hemp seed, sliced avocado, and fresh basil. The freshness of the ingredients makes the flavors pop without a lot of fancy culinary tricks, weird spices (yes I said weird) or distractions. Just simple food.
Steaming the occasional vegetable isn’t bad for you. Steaming can cause a roughly 22-34% loss in nutrients like vitamin C and might decrease cancer-protective qualities somewhat, but if you’re eating a diet filled with a very high percentage of raw fruits and vegetables, your daily intake of vitamin C and other raw phytonutrients is going to be off the charts, anyway. So losing a little by occasional steaming is not a big concern, in my opinion.*
If you’re going to cook vegetables occasionally, I recommend steaming, as other forms of cooking are less ideal. For example, cooking methods that blacken or char your food can create carcinogenic compounds. Though this phenomenon is most noticeable in meats, causing vegetables to burn “can form carcinogens like benzopyrene, which is found in larger amounts in cigarette smoke.” Worth it? You decide for yourself. I decided it’s not worth it for me. And anyway, the flavor of raw foods, or even raw foods paired with lightly steamed ones, is so incredibly delicious that I would never have any reason to miss the flavor of burned, charred foods.
Truth be told, once you remove many foods on the standard American diet from your plate, over time your taste buds recalibrate. Foods you once deemed delicious seem almost repugnant and bizarre. I know for me, the thought of grilling or blackening precious organic raw fruits or vegetables seems almost criminal when in their original pristine form they are so delectable and satisfying.
A little common sense can also sometimes go a long way when you’re comparing some cooked food with raw ones. In contrast to meals made with lightly steamed cauliflower or broccoli, how about eating two pounds of raw nuts blended together with coconut oil, agave syrup, and salt in a decadent but heavy raw food dessert five times per week? Ummmm, I’ll take the steamed veggies, please. Save the super-rich, fatty, salty raw food meals as an occasional indulgence for the holidays or other fitting events if you must, but not as an ongoing staple of your vegan diet.
The theme I repeat throughout my raw food instruction is to advocate keeping a balanced, rational perspective when approaching a raw plant-based diet.
Raw vegan fusion can open up a variety of meal options not available when one is 100% strictly raw vegan every day.
For families, raw vegan fusion is a great way for busy moms and dads to introduce more plant-based meals to their kids. As a busy working mom myself, I am always looking for ways to incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables into my kids’ diets, and it’s just not realistic to snap my fingers and declare: “Ok, kids! Starting tomorrow, you’re going to be 100% raw vegan! Run along now!” But I could easily blend together meals that include lightly cooked plant-based foods and also make available plenty of fresh raw fruits and veggies, or make them green smoothies for breakfast and keep my counter tops covered with fresh fruit for snacking as often as they wish. Perspective. Do your best.
Again, not everyone is ready to go 100% raw overnight or remain fully raw vegan for life. Not everyone is exactly where I am on my path. It took me many years of trial and error along with personal work to get here. I model what I consider to be ideal for myself, and then I also meet my friends, family, and clients where they are in order to help everyone adopt a vegan diet in a way that is gentle and viable for long-term success. For some people, starting a raw food diet overnight will work. Some people have that personality and just like to jump in the pool, so to speak. But for some, baby steps and slow, steady integration are a more effective tactic.
The best way to go raw and adopt a plant-based diet and lifestyle is the way that works for YOU. You are a beautifully unique individual. I honor that fact, and so should you. Be where you are right now. Be at peace with it. Exhale, don’t stress out about your food, please. Learn what you can about nutrition and strive to give your body the best that you can. Steamed vegetables are not bad for you! Anxiety is.
I’m here to help you with ideas, inspiration, and raw food diet and lifestyle support. Enjoy creating raw vegan fusion recipes so that you can transition to raw foods in a sustainable way. If you decide to go all-raw like I did, then that’s great, too! I can help with that and show you what the completely raw lifestyle is like. But if eating some lightly cooked vegetables is between you and reaching for a cheeseburger and fries, my word, eat the steamed veggies!
Perspective. Common sense. Self-love. Progress, not perfection.
Yours in delicious heath,
Raw Vegan Fusion: Asparagus with Hemp, Tomato and Basil
1-2 bunches of asparagus
2 large heirloom tomatoes of your choosing
1 cup of fresh basil, minced
1 large avocado
2 tbsp raw hemp seeds
lemon juice or pink salt to taste (optional)
Steam asparagus until barely softened (this is my favorite steamer pot ever), strain, then dunk into an ice bath to stop the cooking process and retain beautiful bright green color. Arrange asparagus on a large plate with sliced tomato, avocado, and hemp seed as pictured above. Top with minced basil, lemon juice, and a pinch of pink salt if desired. Enjoy!
*This is not medical advice. This is my own critical analysis, and I am not a medical professional, as clearly stated in my disclaimers. I do not give medical advice about cancer or any disease. I encourage everyone to seek out diverse opinions and make your own choices with a trusted medical professional.