And a few you thought were but aren’t
If, after following along with Raw Week, you’re still nervous or skeptical about going raw, think of all the raw foods you already enjoy without even knowing it! By incorporating more of the raw foods you love into your meals, you can begin to reap the many benefits of the raw diet without making any major changes. Here are a few of my favorite foods you may not realize are raw:
A raw food mainstay, guacamole has appeared at many of my Raw Week meals. It’s a savior at happy hour. Dip veggies or top a salad with it and no one will notice you’re skipping the chips! Plus it’s great with “raw margaritas.”
Another happy hour or snack time goodie with a southwest flare is salsa. Just make sure this spicy sauce is the fresh kind made of chopped tomatoes, onions, peppers, fresh lemon or lime juice, and herbs and spices. No fire roasted tomatoes here!
Pico de gallo
Not sure if the salsa is raw? Stick with pico de gallo, which is always raw. It’s simply made of diced tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapeno, cilantro, and salt.
Perhaps obvious but it worth mentioning. Try experimenting with different greens like romaine hearts, spinach, arugula, kale, mixed greens, or any leaf you love. Mix up the toppings but be sure to skip cheese, croutons, beans, and cooked veggies like corn.
As long as they don’t have a dairy base smoothies are a filling raw option. Add half a banana to all fruit and veggie smoothies to add a little creaminess you may be missing. Try the happy shake for a delicious raw chocolate drink that is actually made of blueberries and spinach—but doesn’t taste like it.
Might be obvious to our French speaking friends but raw veggies are perfect for dipping in everything from salsa and guacamole to raw veggies, and this delicious “cheese” sauce I learned to make during Raw Week.
Not only is it raw, it’s beneficial to your digestive system! Apparently our digestive tract needs lactic acid to kill off harmful bacteria and what do you know? Sauerkraut is fermented in lactic acid! So the next time you’re having tummy trouble, whether you’re raw or not, pile on the sauerkraut!
Most store bought varieties are boiled but if you make your own, pickles and other pickled vegetables, are great option to change the flavor profile and texture of your raw veggies. I love pickled cauliflower, eggplant, carrots, and Brussels sprouts but you can pickle just about anything! Just be sure to use cider vinegar, other varieties are too acidic.
Now that you know some good things you can eat on a raw diet here are a few foods you probably thought were raw, but aren’t:
It’s the first thing my friends suggested I eat when I told them I was going raw but watch out for that rice, it’s cooked!
Sorry friends alcohol is distilled, which means it was boiled! Most raw foodies allow for wine but pass on other adult beverages. If you don’t want to forgo drinks watch your mixers and check out this list of “raw” cocktails.
Another sad story. In order to make chocolate, most commercial brands heat the cacao to about 265 degrees Fahrenheit, well above the limit most raw foodies approve. The temperature varies from person to person but it is in the low hundreds. Luckily, there are some raw chocolate options like this rich and creamy raw chocolate pudding I’m obsessed with right now!
Nope, yogurt is not raw. It’s been pasteurized. But I was able to convince my raw food guru Stacy Stowers to put Greek yogurt on the safe list. Creamy Greek yogurt is packed with B12, which can be a common deficiency amongst raw foodies. The essential vitamin is typically derived from animal sources, making it hard to get enough of on a raw diet. As an alternative, I hear there are raw yogurt recipes out there, which I still have to try. (Have you? If so, please tell me about it in the comments below!)
Despite being cold, it’s been cooked. Just like yogurt, ice cream has been pasteurized at high heats. Of course, there are ways to make raw ice cream using ingredients like cashews, bananas, dates, and more.
Seems like it would be raw but those chickpeas have been cooked before they even became hummus! Even packages labeled as “raw hummus” are made with blanched chickpeas.
I know what you’re thinking, most almonds, unless you’re buying the roasted salted kind, are labeled as raw. Ever since salmonella outbreaks in the early 2000s the USDA has mandated that all almonds be pasteurized at 185 degrees Fahrenheit. Unless you’re going all the way raw, I wouldn’t eliminate this healthy nut from your diet!
You could soak uncooked beans at home and try to eat them if you’d like but most varieties will remain really hard, and basically inedible. I’m not saying it can’t be done. I’m just warning you so if you think you’re doing great ordering a hearty raw salad topped with chickpeas or cannellini beans they are not raw! It’s an easy mistake to make. I did it when eating out during Raw Week and caught myself just before the bean hit my mouth.
The cabbage may be raw but the dish is not—if it’s store bought or you’re making it with commercial mayonnaise. Again, you can make raw mayo at home by whisking together oil, egg, and lemon juice but most commercial varieties use pasteurized egg yolks.
In the US, all cheeses under 60 days of age must be made of pasteurized milk but it is possible to get raw cheeses. Milk is turned to cheese through coagulation, which is achieved by introducing an enzyme called rennet. It’s not the actual cheese making process that causes the final product not to be raw but the pasteurized milk. There are a variety of delicious raw milk cheeses available in the United States so if you love cheese seek them out. You don’t have to give up cheese on a raw diet! Phew!
As an editor at SHAPE I have the chance to learn about the healthiest ways to cook, eat, and live from all sorts of experts but I’m also a single girl living in NYC with a busy schedule, active social life, and chocolate cravings. I’m here to share what works for me—and where I need a little help from you.