I have been vegan for over a year and I am interested in raw food, but it seems that I lack general knowledge regarding the diet for me to make a change. A few questions:
1. Any book recommendations for beginner raw vegans?
2. I know that raw cacao is commonly used by raw vegans and wonder why there is no reference to the harmful caffeine content. Does the taste of raw carob powder resemble cacao?
3. Most important: The average, daily raw menu I have come across is quite basic and includes mostly fruits and vegetables as is. I find such a menu somewhat dull and would like to incorporate more foods (soups, ice creams, etc.). The question is, does this normally require much time and effort?
There are many different elements to many raw diets some like 80/10/10 are just basically fruit only.
Cacao although great nutritious food still has caffeine and theobromine which are CNS stimulants and deplete the adrenal glands.
Some will try to force that only fruits and vegetables are acceptable, ive had good results on a mixed raw diet, lots of fruit, veg, nuts, seeds, seaweeds for the iodine etc. I like my raw gourmet recipes which are very tasty and healthy.
The book I started out with was Raw Energy by Stephanie Tourles. It's a very snack-oriented recipe book and it's got loads of smoothie, trail mix, dessert, granola bars, parfaits, soups, etc. I LOVE Ani Phyo's recipes and she does have a lot of easy-to-do stuff, although a lot of dehydrated stuff.
And I feel you on the dull menu thing. I have to have at least one "meal" a day. Right now I'm eating a stuffed red pepper recipe from this site, it was quite easy. The only time-consuming part was soaking the sunflower seeds, which took no effort, I just had to remember to do it ahead of time. (Then I actually made the recipe the NEXT day and so I ended up storing the soaked seeds in my fridge.) Easy recipes that are fun to eat are mueslis and puddings/parfaits which have an infinite variety, as creative as you want to get. Yesterday I had a banana/avocado/cacao (which can easily be replaced with carob)/cinnamon pudding and sprinkled a kaia foods buckwheat granola on top (I'm a student with a cheap dehydrator, I don't have the time or money to make my own granola, its an occasional treat). I love mixing nut milk, cacao, and agave/dates and putting chopped bananas and strawberries in it, occasionally sprinkling dried coconut on top.
If you invest in a spiralizer (you can find a good one online for $30) you can find tons of easy "pasta" recipes with zucchini and squash, and marinara/olive oil/nut-based sauce.
I am not a big fan of salads but I find the more stuff I put in it, the less I think of it as a salad and the more I think of it as a meal. Spinach, collard, avocado, bell pepper, onion, cucumber, zucchini, tomato, a delicious dressing.
One thing I found is that eating things that don't require prep can get really boring, but find the things you LOVE to eat and don't think of as "Ugh, I have to eat this AND that AND that." For me, it's grapes. Red grapes are like candy, mmmm =) I can sit and eat half a bag for a snack cause they're so goodddd. And I'll dip bell peppers into anything. And dates dipped into raw almond butter are delicious.
Hope some of this chaotic mess helped haha.
I think prep time and effort all really depend on what you want to do. There's plenty of options that are quick and easy, but there's also gourmet type stuff out there that's more complicated and time consuming. I don't know if there are any recipe sites that sort by prep time or easiness, but if you're looking for something in particular of if you're trying to find a simpler method of something you've found elsewhere, some quick Googling should find a few options.
Or you can just wing it. I made some pumpkin ice cream tonight, and while I probably could have found a recipe I liked, I just tried my own thing and then I'll tweak it next time. Took about five minutes, and I'll chill it over night and throw it in my ice cream maker in the morning. The texture may not turn out(and my pre-test definitely tasted like banana-pumpkin rather than just pumpkin) but I'm reasonably confident it will taste good and be healthy. Regardless, it was pretty quick and simple, hopefully not too basic.
Thank you for your comments. I guess that with a bit effort, it is possible to find easy recipes to begin with. I have recently acquired The Live Food Factor, whose arrival I am waiting for, in hope it will include practical advice among others.
If you say what type of recipes/course/ingredient-main, maybe we can suggest a couple recipes or something. But there are tons of recipes out there! Just google it. There's e-books, hard/soft-cover written books, recipes on websites and blogs.
The 80/10/10 Diet by Douglas Graham is definitely a good place to start. Also, I have a free report "The 4 Principles of a Healthy Raw Diet" as well as a transition to raw course that you can access by subscribing to my mailing list at my signature link below. Both include meal plans and recipes.
If you want more recipes, I have a recipe e-book on my site. Dr. Graham's The New High Energy Diet and Frederic Patenaude's Instant Raw Sensations are also terrific. :)