Savor: Living Foods

BY Jordan Smith and Marimar McNaughton

Whole foodsvegetables and fruitsand the value of eating more of them coupled with a change in seasons might inspire some who desire a fresh approach to diet and nutrition to experiment with a true lifestyle change.

Why not try a raw food diet?

A raw food diet one in which the food is prepared yet not cooked excludes all dairy and meat products as well as all mass-produced processed foods. Those who choose the raw food route will stock their refrigerators and cupboards with fresh produce leafy greens legumes and sprouts whole grains seeds and nuts. These food choices increase the enzymes and nutrients needed to maintain the bodys pH balance for optimum health. To capture these important enzymes which facilitate nutrition and digestion the food left raw is prepared in the home kitchen with appliances such as a food processor a blender dehydrator and juicer.

When food is heated to 120 degrees or higher which most often occurs on the stove or in the oven it doesnt matter how wholesome the ingredients are to begin with; the crucial enzymes in the food have already been destroyed.

The dehydrator replaces the conventional oven. Therefore dried fruits and vegetables vegetable-paste crackers and even tortillas can easily be produced and the food is still “living ” says raw food educator Pat Delair.

Delair changed her diet not long after she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2007. She received a health educator certification from the Hippocrates Health Institute in Florida the following year. Now she nourishes herself by maintaining a 75 percent raw food diet.

“I wouldnt want to go back. I cant and I dont miss it ” she says.

With her food support groups her free lecture series at Tidal Creek Co-op her monthly Earth Save meet-up group and Conscious Integration the former Wilmington city councilwoman coaches others by providing an important baseline education for those who might want to try a raw food diet but dont know where to begin.

Giving up meat dairy refined sugar refined wheat caffeine and alcohol may shock some into detoxification. Decades of eating processed foods damages the body setting up potentially severe health risks. Those who buy and eat processed foods risk health problems down the road health problems that can be altered or avoided through the adoption of a raw food diet Delair says.

“When people are growing up with processed foods loaded with sugar salt and bad fats their taste buds dont recognize fresh flavors. Real food seems bland and its hard to break the processed food addiction ” Delair says.

Additionally processed foods carry with them some insidious additives; dairy by-products for example are known to contribute negatively to osteoporosis obesity and diabetes (among other illnesses).

The most important part of switching to a raw food diet is to know what foods to combine for the most beneficial results and what nutritional role each food provides. Delair says that nuts for example satisfy the bodys need for protein and fat.

Stephanie Davis one of Delairs mentees is now a living foods educator certified by the Living Foods Institute in Atlanta. Davis a vegan says her diet is primarily raw.

“Processed food is not part of my diet anymore; when it is I certainly feel the effects ” Davis says.

As an employee of Paulas Health Hut on Wrightsville Avenue Davis is in a perfect position to help educate the general public. And she wants others to know that the body has an amazing way of healing itself given the proper diet.

“Letting food be your medicine and medicine be your food is really what Im all about ” says Davis.

Davis says she has transitioned into a whole foods diet through seasonal eating. She is also a steadfast advocate for juicing and juice fasting.

“I threw myself into the raw food world. Thats when I met Pat. I always call her my mentor because shes the first person I met and started learning through. When youre first learning about this stuff you feel alienated and alone ” Davis says.

Delair and Davis will be the first to admit that a raw whole food diet may require more advanced planning and time for preparation but the immediate and future results are more than risk-free the advantages lead to restored physical and mental health.

“The time it takes for me to juice for breakfast or lunch is the same amount as it takes me to put coffee in the filter make my cup of coffee with the sugar and the cream that everybody would typically make in the morning; Ive got a really healthy juice ” Davis says.

Delair says the amount of time it takes to juice a few fruits for a cold soup is less than the time it takes to cook a hot meal.

Not only is it important to eat the right combinations of raw food it is important to consume liquids that are advantageous as well. Preparing a drink with liquid chlorophyll for example will help detoxify the body.

“If you mix some liquid chlorophyll mineral water and lime juice in a Mason jar and sip on it all day it is a perfect drink that is very alkalizing ” Delair says.

It is important she adds to consume foods that are alkalizing because in an acidic state the body cant fight diseases.

The variety of recipes and meals that can be prepared with raw food produces an endless menu of tasteful dishes.

For starters a cold soup served on a late summer afternoon is a perfect way to cool down from the heat. One flavorful recipe combines watermelon mango lime juice raw honey fresh ginger cardamom and mint. All ingredients are pureed in a blender. When served the frothy soup is fruity with a spicy kick from the cardamom and ginger a burst of flavor with every spoonful. The watermelon along with most fruits and vegetables is also alkalizing.

It is important to introduce as many greens as possible into a raw food diet for a steady supply of nutrients and minerals. Tossed and composed salads are one solution for fulfilling this important nutritional need. To make a fruit salad combine organic mixed green leaf lettuce sliced strawberries blackberries and avocado. The avocado is a fine source of healthy fat. For a healthy salad dressing make your own.

For a fruity and tasteful dressing combine strawberries coconut water raw honey macadamia nuts and a little salt in a blender. It produces a lavender paste infused with pure fruit flavor. The honey is used sparingly as a sugar replacement; manufactured sugar should not be a part of your diet says Delair. If youre going to use sugar Delair recommends using stevia a plant-based sweetner because there arent any side effects.

A vegetable-rich wrap filled with shredded carrots yellow squash red bell peppers mushrooms onions scallions and spinach is served for lunch. A sauce of macadamia nuts coconut oil raw honey garlic and a juiced lemon or a red bell pepper puree and avocado lime sauce can also be made in a blender to enhance the flavor of the vegetables while keeping the meal light and easy to digest. Extra virgin olive oil is one component in the sauces which purists say should be one of the only oils you use to prepare your food.

At some point your taste buds are going to tingle for something sweet besides a piece of fruit. Delair makes a chocolate mousse again in a blender. In addition to the superfood raw cacao powder that contains antioxidants iron and magnesium a bit of coconut oil and avocado are the other main ingredients. She likes to serve it with a little nut cream garnish.

This type of dish is something Delair can happily eat with her diet restrictions.

“I love vanilla its my favorite flavor ” Delair says as she adds the vanilla extract to the blender before mixing the chocolate mousse.

Switching to a raw food diet may be a big change for some but that should be weighed against the obvious health benefits. It is important to maintain a healthful balance which can be achieved by adding greens and mostly raw foods ensuring you receive all of the necessary enzymes and nutrients.

“Your bodys worth it ” Davis says.

Summer Berry Salad

8 cups salad mix

1 pint blackberries (reserve some for garnish)

1 ripe avocado

1 cup thinly sliced strawberries


cup strawberries

1 cup pine nuts (soaked four hours)

cup lemon juice

cup coconut water

1 tbsp honey

1 tsp sea salt

In a glass bowl toss salad blackberries avocado and 1 cup salad dressing by hand to coat breaking up berries. In mold place pear slice on bottom then salad then thin layer of strawberries then salad then strawberries then salad and press firmly. Garnish with small dollop of dressing and blackberries. The Art of Raw Living Food

Watermelon Soup

5 cups watermelon

2 cups mango peeled and diced

cup lime juice

3 tbsp fresh mint chopped

1 tbsp fresh ginger minced

1 tbsp honey or agave (for vegans)

1/8 tsp ground cardamom

In a food processor not a Vita-Mix place 3 cups of watermelon and 1 cup of mango and blend until smooth.

Next dice the remaining 1 cups of watermelon and 1 cup of mango into tiny pieces and add them to the puree. In a small separate bowl combine the lime juice mint ginger honey and cardamom. Add this to the previous mixture and stir well. Chill for several hours before serving. By Alissa Cohen raw food chef

Summer Squash Spinach and Mushrooms with Sweet Cheese on Corn/Flax Wrap with Avocado Lime Sauce and Red Bell Pepper Puree


Matchstick yellow squash

Shredded carrots

Chopped scallions

Chopped spinach

Sliced mushrooms

Red Bell Puree (makes cup)

1 red bell peppers

2 tbsp flax oil

clove garlic

Pinch sea salt

Pinch chipotle pepper

Blend until thick puree forms


Avocado Lime Sauce (makes 1 cup)

1 avocado

1/8 to cup cilantro

2 tbsp olive oil

cup coconut water

1 clove garlic

Juice of 1 lime

tsp sea salt

tsp maple syrup

Blend until creamy sauce forms.


Sweet Cheese (makes 1 cup)

1 cup pine nuts

cup coconut water

1 lemon

1 roma tomato

1 tbsp honey

1 clove garlic

tsp sea salt

Blend until thick and creamy. If using macadamia nuts add 1 tbsp olive oil. The Art of Raw Living Food


Golden Tortillas

1 cups organic flax meal

4 cups organic frozen corn thawed

1 1/3 cups purified water

2 tbsp organic olive oil

1 tbsp cumin

small red onion

1 clove garlic

tbsp sea salt

1 tbsp + 1 tsp lime juice

Pinch cayenne powder

1 tsp chili powder

Place flax meal in large bowl. Blend all remaining ingredients except chili powder in Vita-Mix or high-powered blender until smooth. Stir in flax meal and chili powder. Spread cup batter (or cup for smaller tortillas) into an eight inch circle (per tortilla) on dehydrator tray covered with Teflex sheet or parchment paper. Dehydrate at 105 degrees for approximately 4 hours or until tortilla flips easily.

Continue to dehydrate until all wet spots have disappeared but tortilla is still soft and flexible another 3060 minutes. (Note: If you over-dehydrate break apart into chips and dehydrate until crispy.) Matthew Kenney Everyday Raw

Chocolate Mousse

4 avocados

1 cup cacao powder

cup coconut oil

1/3 cup maple syrup

cup water

Blend all ingredients in Vita-mix until smooth. Garnish with raspberry. Serve with a raspberry orange crme.


Raspberry orange crme

3 cups macadamia nuts

1 cup fresh squeezed orange or clementine juice

1 container fresh raspberries (reserve several for garnish)

2 tbsp honey

Place all ingredients in Vita-mix. Blend until creamy.


Raw whipped cream

1 1/3 cup raw cashews soaked 2 hours

cup water

3 tbsp agave (or 2 dates)

vanilla bean (whole if using Vita-mix substitute 1 tsp vanilla extract in a food processor.