Chances are, if you’re a health conscious person, you’ll be aware of the ‘raw food diet’ by now. Maybe you’ve seen one of the television programmes on it, or heard a health promoter like Gillian McKeith talking about the benefits. Perhaps you have done a juice-fast or been on a detox retreat. There are Hollywood stars who swear by it, but can it possibly live up to the hype, or is it just another fad diet?
People who eat raw food claim to feel better in all areas of their lives: greater mental focus and clarity; more energy; fewer mood swings; a happier disposition; easy and sustainable weight loss. These are all common to people who eat as much raw food as they can every day.
A raw food diet mainly consists of fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, sea vegetables and super-foods. Most people eating in this way are vegan, but some choose to include raw dairy products and even raw meat in their diets. It is usual to eat a little cooked food as well; as long as you are eating more than 50 per cent raw every day, you are still going to feel the benefits.
I teach classes all over the world, and it’s a joy to witness the transformation and the liberation that occurs in people who follow the diet successfully. There are many paths to holistic health, but the power of raw foods is that it really works at a cellular level.
Kate Magic is author of three books, including ‘Eat Smart, Eat Raw’, the UK’s best-selling raw food recipe book, published by Grub Street.
Fennel & Sea Spaghetti Salad in a Pumpkin Seed Mayo
I adore this salad. Fennel is one of my favourite vegetables. With its distinctive flavour, refreshing crispness and unusual shape, you could never accuse it of being boring. The pumpkin seed mayo makes a gorgeous creamy contrast, so this salad manages to combine a feeling of being virtuous and sinful at the same time.
Pumpkin seeds are such a storehouse of nutrition. I try to eat them every day, either on their own as a snack, as nut butter, or blended into a dip or a sauce. As well as being one of the richest dietary sources of zinc, they are an exceptionally good source of the amino acid tryptophan, which raises serotonin levels in the brain.
Takes 15 mins to prepare, after 4-8 hours soaking
You will need a food processor and a blender
400 g (14 oz) white cabbage
1 bulb fennel
30 g sea spaghetti, soak for at least 4 hours
125 g (4 oz) pumpkin seeds, soak for 4-8 hours
1 tbsp hemp oil
1 lemon, juiced
1 clove garlic
125 ml (4 fl oz) water
Slice the cabbage and fennel using a fine slicer. Transfer to a mixing bowl with the drained sea spaghetti. Put the pumpkin seeds, hemp oil, lemon juice, garlic and water in the blender and blend for a few minutes until you have a thick cream. Spoon it over the vegetables; you will only need about two-thirds of it, just enough to cover then, not drown them. Reserve the rest of the mayo for another use, or dehydrate it. Serve immediately.