Hot trend: raw foods

This article was originally published in September 2015

Chia seeds

When you hear the term “raw food,” do celery sticks come to mind? Think again! Today, raw food is not just fresh produce. It includes raw packaged foods such as crackers, chocolate treats and other foods never heated above 116° F. Many happen to be vegan and gluten-free, naturally.

PCC shoppers are buying raw foods not just because they’re made from vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and sprouted grains or beans, but also because they’re seeking foods with minimal added sugars, fats and salt. Plus, the raw foods at PCC are tasty!

Raw food advocates report that increasing raw foods provides:

  • Energy and vitality from consuming foods in their “living” state.
  • Higher nutrient levels, because heat reduces vitamins.
  • A better mental outlook and improved immunity, blood pressure and other health benefits.
  • A “crunch factor” to your diet, forcing you to slow down while you eat.

Note: Some nutrients in foods are better absorbed after cooking. You’ll absorb more nutrients when you cook tomatoes, carrots and mushrooms, for instance. Still, adding raw foods most likely will improve your diet quality because you’re consuming foods in their least processed form.

Raw at PCC

From our deli

  • Rainbow Salad — Squash, cucumbers, carrots and fresh mint.
  • Rockin’ Raw Kale Salad — Oil-free, with dino kale, radish, avocado and sunflower seeds.
  • Cauliflower “Tabouli” — No grains here, just raw cauliflower, organic tomatoes and yellow bell peppers, and plenty of organic herbs and spices.
  • Zucchini Noodle Pesto — Noodles made of zucchini, dressed with homemade basil-almond pesto sauce.

Snacks

  • Alive & Radiant Kale Krunch — Snack chips in flavors such as Quite Cheezy and Southwest Ranch.
  • Go Raw Flax Snax — These crunchy, salty chip-like snacks are made with only sprouted organic flax seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, tomatoes, salt and spices.
  • Wilderness Poets nut butters — Need a protein fix? Try individually sized packets of raw nut butters, perfect for packing in a lunch sack and spreading on bread or apples.

Craving sweet?

  • Hail Merry — PCC staff rave about the raw macaroons with organic coconut and almond flour, and Miracle Tarts in flavors such as Meyer Lemon, Persian Lime, Coconut Vanilla and Chocolate.
  • Divine Pie — The crusts are made with a blend of nuts, dates and coconut flakes. The fillings are raw and dairy- and sugar-free, yet creamy. Try the Oregon Berry Cheesecake or Key Lime Pie.
  • Honey Mama’s — Fudgy “cacao-nectar” bars of chocolate made with organic raw cacao, raw local honey and unrefined coconut oil.
  • Raw Cha Cha — Fudgy raw chocolate bars, in flavors such as Brazil Nut Bliss-Joy and Salty Almond Butter.
  • Bee Kings raw honey — Raw honey isn’t heated or filtered and contains more than 75 different compounds, including enzymes, minerals and vitamins.

Add a spoonful

  • A great way to get the benefits of raw food is just to add a spoonful of raw “superfoods” to a smoothie, salad, oatmeal, yogurt or granola. They seem exotic but you can add them to your diet with little effort. Some to try:
  • Maca powder — Maca is an ancient Peruvian superfood reportedly prized by Incan warriors to increase stamina, boost libido and combat fatigue.
  • Goji berries — Goji berries have been enjoyed for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine. They’re a strong source of protein and contain an abundance of antioxidants and more than 20 vitamins and minerals.
  • Cacao nibs — Cacao is a source of antioxidants and is rich in magnesium and iron. Use nibs in everything from baked goods to salad dressings.
  • Chia seeds — Ancient cultures throughout Central America have long enjoyed chia seeds as a key part of their food and medicine. Chia seeds have omega-3 fats, protein, antioxidants and dietary fiber. They have a mild, nutty flavor.

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