Breakfast in the buff.I know what you’re thinking, ‘No more Sweet Freak? But that was my most favorite of all favorite columns on Voracious! How will I ever get through my Fridays without it?” Ah, that’s really nice of you, thanks! But if there is one thing I eat more than sweets, it’s raw food. Stop yawning. Most of the people I talk to about my diet give me judgemental looks or gross faces, as if I sustain solely on fruits and vegetables. And the idea that I would sprout my own nuts and seeds is just ludicrous. One of the reasons I like eating raw foods is because it requires little effort on my part. I’m not allergic to anything and I don’t have any digestive issues; I simply like to eat healthy when I’m not dining out and I’m a tad lazy, which makes a raw diet perfect for me. Hopefully, this new column will accomplish two things: 1) demystify raw foods and 2) be somewhat educational. There are so many wonderful raw products out there right now, you’d be surprised. For every cereal, chocolate, cracker, bread, ice cream and cookie, there is a raw version (well, almost).What is raw food? The short answer is that raw foods are not heated above 116-degrees with the belief that doing so kills live enzymes which, in turn, makes it difficult for food to digest. Most raw food is alive. So, even though that container of oatmeal looks raw because it hasn’t been cooked yet, it has been processed. Raw food will always be labeled ‘raw’ on the packaging.
There’s nothing fancy about the granola or the packaging.Let’s start this column off with a raw food I eat every day — Apple Cinnamon “Granola” (they put it in quotes, not me) from GoRaw. This line of raw, vegan, gluten-free, organic products can be found at Whole Foods and Thrive. I don’t know who else sells them, but they seem to becoming more abundant in health food stores in Seattle. Heads-up that some Whole Foods (like the one on Westlake) refrigerate their raw foods, even though it’s not really necessary, while others keep them on shelves next to the bulk foods. Disregard the aseptic look of the GoRaw packaging. This neon-colored bag is chock full of some of the most nutritious stuff you’ve probably never considered eating for breakfast: sprouted organic buckwheat groats, flax seeds and sesame seeds, organic unsulphured apples (dried under 105-degrees), raw organic agave nectar and organic cinnamon. Unless you’re into healthy, vegan/raw foods in general, I’m not recommending you go out and buy this stuff. It takes some getting used to. The texture is grainy and chewy — lots of fibrous seeds and dried apples. It’s going to be a workout if you’re used to eating oatmeal or more traditional boxed cereals that buckle under the weight of a little milk.What I can tell you with certainty is that I really enjoy it because I like the natural apple cinnamon flavor and it fills me up for a few hours. One serving (4oz) packs nearly 500 calories, so it’s certainly hearty. I also eat it with almond milk which gives it a sweeter taste than regular dairy milk. I don’t want to scare you away from this granola. If it makes you feel better, I do have a friend who is an extremely finicky eater. He’s been living off of Shredded Wheat, Raisin Bran and Cheerio’s most of his life. When I asked him to try this raw granola (expecting the worst reaction possible), he told me he actually kind of liked it, but would never spend that much on cereal. Ever. This brings me to the potential downfall of this raw granola: it’s $11 for a one-pound bag. Even with the understanding that the ingredients are high quality, I realize this is going to be a hard sell. Raw food is not cheap, but it is super concentrated so you don’t have to eat much to get full.