I am not a huge veggie eater, and I want to change this. More specifically, I also want to increase my overall intake of raw fruits and vegetables to fully enjoy all the nutritional “life force” of an uncooked plant. As raw foodie wisdom goes, fruits, vegetables and other plant-based foods lose a lot of vital enzymes which aid in digestion and nutrient absorption once cooked or heated over 116 degrees Farenheight.
Hence the countless anecdotal evidence of raw vegans transforming into dewy-eyed creatures of energy and youth after a few weeks of a raw food diet. While becoming a raw vegan is not an easy task, all of us can do a few baby steps to add more raw fruits and vegetables to our everyday lives. You can still enjoy your cooked pasta and rice–but up your raw veggie consumption while you are at it.
Here are 15 ideas to enjoy more raw fruits and vegetables in your everyday life–in their naked, uncooked glory.
1. Eat them as is. The simplest way of all, and requires no cooking time. Apple slices, carrot sticks, celery sticks, a bowl of grapes, bananas, Persian cucumbers, and countless other possibilities. By keeping bowls of fruit and vegetable slices in the fridge, you will always be grazing on healthy food instead of junk food.
2. Enjoy in a veggie tortilla wrap. Wrap uncooked veggies and your favorite condiments in a flour tortilla, and you got yourself a quick lunch. Check out 7 veggie wrap ideas here.
3. Enjoy in a lettuce wrap. Even better than a veggie tortilla wrap: simply replace the tortilla with a big lettuce cup to hold the ingredients in.
4. In a fresh vegetable sandwich. Raw veggie sandwiches have endless possibilities. Here’s a classic: avocados, sprouts, soy cheese, and tomato slices on sprouted bread with a generous spread of Vegannaise.
5. Rolled into sushi with quinoa or brown rice. One of my new favorite ways of enjoying fresh vegetables: rolling up thinly sliced cucmbers and carrots with tempeh or tofu in brown Jasmine rice and Korean seaweed.
6. Tossed in a salad, and not just the boring lettuce kind of salad, either. You can make raw carrot salad, raw beet salad, raw spinach salad, raw brocolli salad, and more.
7. Mixed in a cold summer pasta salad. My seasonal favorite! Here’s a combination I haven’t gotten sick of: thin carrot slices, cucumber, tomato and raw almonds mixed in rainbow pasta with a homemade vinaigrette-based dressing.
8. With some very healthy homemade veggie dip. Some ideas: carrot sticks with hummus. Cucumber with plain yogurt. Celery and apple with almond butter.
9. In a cold summer soup. Gazpacho soup, anyone? Enjoy your raw vegetables in liquid form. You are packing in tomatos, bell peppers, onions, cucumbers, garlic cloves and more in a single zesty bowl.
10. As a chip dip. A fresh tomato salsa or a zesty homemade guacamole are two possible ways to enjoy raw vegetable in chip dip form.
11. Squeezed into a juice. Make yourself a fruit smoothie, or simply squeeze an orange with a manual squeezer. Or simply squeeze lemon juice into your tall glass of water.
12. Mixed in plain yogurt for a healthy breakfast. Throw in banana slices, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raw almonds, and whatever else you desire in a bowl of plain yogurt then drizzle with raw honey.
13. As a refreshing side coleslaw.
14. Rolled into a crunchy spring roll with Vietnamese rice paper. Imagine carrots, lettuce, bean sprouts, fresh mint leaves, lime juice and tofu rolled into tissue-thin rice paper and dipped in a savory peanut sauce. Sounds delicious, no?
15. Dehydrated. Enjoy a new texture of your uncooked fruits and vegetables in dehydrated form while still enjoying the powerful enzymes that will aid in your digestion and nutrition absorption.
By exploring many options for enjoying fruits and vegetables in their raw form, it becomes more and more easier to increase your raw food intake for a healthier life. So start sharpening your knives and schedule a visit to your local Farmer’s Market–your body and mind will thank you for it.
Originally published in 2010