Judita Wignall’s latest cookbook is Raw & Simple. With a goal of providing easy and tasty recipes that feed the body and spirit without hours of prep, Raw & Simple is a wonderful introduction to the world of raw vegan food. Rarely does a cookbook come out that really changes the way I think or the way I cook. Sure, I might learn some new recipes and be introduced to new flavors, but Raw & Simple is a whole new way of cooking or really not cooking and it is better and easier than I thought.
Now, I am not saying I am changing everything and going raw, but as Judita points out “anybody can benefit from the healthy lifestyle that raw eating provides.” You don’t have to go all in, Judita says, “I’m not a 100% raw foodist. I eat cooked foods as well, though usually with some raw food added.” She is obviously more “in it “than me, but I do plan to add many of these new recipes to my flexitarian lifestyle.
Raw foods have been popping up everywhere from chocolates (I saw a few at the Chocolate Show touting their higher antioxidant levels) to food trucks (I saw outside the vegetarian festival). I really love hot food especially in the winter and I could not imagine living without it. Judita explains, “there are techniques that can give you that cooked feeling like using a dehydrator at low temperatures (around 115 degrees), or warming dishes on the stove top at very low heat. I also use a lot of warming spices in my dishes like cinnamon, turmeric, garlic, and ginger and drink warm herbal teas during the cold months.”
I was a bit worried about needing a fancy blender and a food dehydrator, but this book of raw food recipes doesn’t require either. There are many interesting recipes for every flavor and meal and I truly enjoyed all of the ones I tried. I recently asked Judita a few questions about the road to raw:
What do you think is the biggest benefit?
The biggest benefit for me is how much more energy I have. I used to be a coffee addict, because my old diet (Atkins Diet) was just too heavy. Eating raw doesn’t make me sleepy after meals. Instead, I feel light, energized and more productive.
How would you suggest convincing a naysayer to give it a try?
Try eating one raw meal a day for a week and see how you feel. Sometimes just having a smoothie for breakfast or a big salad for lunch can make you feel more energized and improve your digestion. Also, try some raw desserts. I call my fudge brownies (from my first book Going Raw) the “gateway drug to raw foods.” Because they’re so good, people are more open to trying other raw recipes.
If you had to pick one recipe for a novice to experiment with what would it be?
Zucchini Noodles from Raw & Simple are really fun, because they take on the flavor of whatever sauce you make. I have two classic, flavorful sauces, marinara and pesto, that taste wonderful and give you the satisfaction of eating an Italian pasta dish without the carb coma.
What is your best piece of advice for someone who wants to try going raw?
Get some raw recipe books and start playing in the kitchen. Having good recipes in your repertoire will help you stick to the diet better. Also, transition slowly. Going 100% overnight can be a shock to your system, especially if you’re not used to that much fiber! You can avoid headaches and withdrawals from processed food if you transition slowly, as well.
Thanks to Judita for sharing three recipes from her book so you can all see what I am talking about. Don’t miss this Cauliflower Couscous, it’s absolutely delicious!
Win your own copy of this book and learn to not cook your food. Especially great ideas for Saturday lunches this Summer.