Many people confronted with the idea of a raw food diet are likely to conjure up images of endless salads, murky green smoothies and cold, bland food. The truth of course, as many Chispa readers will know, is very different and a raw food experience can be rich in exciting flavours, temptimg textures and delicious variety. We caught up with raw food expert Michelle Julian to find out more.
Taste and texture are vital to convince anyone that a particular way of eating is worth while, and the raw food movement has made huge strides in addressing this issue. As it grows in popularity, gaining converts the world over, southern Spain has become well known for its raw roots, with many raw foodies choosing the area for its benign climate and huge range of food choices. “Making it tempting to everyone is the key,” says Michelle. “And that means variety and great tasting food. Imagine nut cheese from macadamia nuts, or pesto mushroom steaks and even raw pizza and that is just the start – we haven’t even mentioned the raw chocolate yet.”
Choosing to go completely raw can be a big step for many people but the process can, easily be gradual, and indeed often should be, and Michelle, who runs raw courses from her home in Nueva Andalucía, emphasises that it is important to be comfortable with your choices. “for those already raw we can help show that they are on the right path and improve their daily menu, for those thinking about it we can show them the benefits and for those carnivores who can’t imagine living without their stew, we can show how to combine some of it to create a healthier diet.”
From a nutritional point of view, a raw diet means that more essential enzymes are absorbed into the body, as well as more vitamins and minerals, elements that are lost in the cooking process. Rice, pasta and other carbohydrates have nutrients that can also be found in vegetable form and as it is often the texture that we crave, Michelle demonstrates how to recreate the taste and texture while making something more nutritious. Having been the owner of an award winning restaurant in her native Australia, as well as being a raw food trainer, Michelle has an excellent understanding of food preparation. Some of the courses she runs offer the chance to learn to make basic raw dishes for daily meals as well as special techniques for creating a spectacular Thai meal. Detox workshops aim to show how to cleanse without sacrificing taste or quality. And then there is the chocolate…..”This is only one part of the raw experience,” Michelle explains. “But it is often the hook that gets people interested. Once they have made their own raw chocolate, there is no going back.”
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This post is also available in: Spanish