Thursday, January 13, 2011

I'll have the burger, raw

When I decided to try raw food, I knew that I wouldn't last on fresh fruit, carrot sticks and salads. That would feel way too much like a diet. And I don't do diets. But that's exactly how I ate the first time I went raw, and I passed most of the time with a pain in my stomach - either because I was starving or from all that roughage.

I had started googling raw foods and recipes a week earlier to see what was out there. A lot of raw recipes call for time consuming steps such as dehydrating and marinating, but the ingredients were surprising simple and readily available. The odd ingredient or two out there - such as miso or nutritional yeast - were still readily available and inexpensive. Vegan recipes cannot boast such things.

Since this was only a week long experiment, simplicity was the name of my game. So I axed any recipe that called for dehydrating, soaking or marinating. I also took to using the daily plate to keep track of the nutrition in the food as well.

The first raw recipe I went for came from a very familiar source. I read the vegan nutrition book by professional triathalete Brendan Brazier this summer and I loved his simple recipes and his "recovery" theory on improving performance. Brendan inspired me to quit coffee (something that I love with all my heart and soul), and many of his recipes were raw or had the option to be made raw. So I knew that my first recipe would have to come from an old friend that I could count on.I went for a recipe that was basically devoid of the crazy supplements he loves to add - such as the seaweed dulse or hemp protein powder and chose the simple Almond Flaxseed Burger. Just six ingredients, all already part of my kitchen staples, and one simple step - blend in food processor. The only substitution I made was to replace the balsamic vinegar with rice vinegar, as I had just run out.

The burgers came out awesome and each bite was an explosion of flavor. Processing all the ingredients together gave the burger a nice, sticky and slightly creamy texture that made the recipe seem, well not quite cooked, but not raw either. My only criticism on this recipe is that the garlic taste was quite strong, so if you just have a hot date the next day, I would suggest cutting the garlic in half.

I'm not interested in getting in trouble for posting recipes that belong to someone else so I can't post the recipe on my blog, but lucky for you one of the blogs I love to read, No Meat Athlete, has the recipe to share.

And with that first raw recipe, I was converted. I had imagined the raw food as a punishment for my holiday indulgences, and that the pain and suffering, the gnawing in my belly, was penance for all those Christmas cookies. At the end of the week, I imagined that I would emerge delirious and light-headed, but no longer hungry because the sensation had become de rigueur. Instead, after only day one, I was energized and (dare I even suggest it?) excited to eat more raw food.

If only cleaning up after all my other indulgences and extravagances was this much fun.

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