How Raw Do You Need To Be?

by Susan on November 20, 2009

Raw Food: Peppers

I got an interesting comment on one of the recipes today. It was explained to me that chipotle peppers are not raw, and if I served the eggplant bacon to someone who was a 100% raw foodist, they would get really angry. Technically, chipotle peppers are smoked. I don’t know how high the heat gets when they are being smoked. The actual smoking and drying takes days. So, it is possible that the peppers never reach the 116 degrees. Are they raw? Probably not.

When you make the eggplant bacon, 1/4 of a teaspoon of dried chipotle powder is required for the recipe. It goes in the marinade which get’s drained off before the eggplant is dehydrated. So, if you want to get technical, maybe one grain of the powder remains on a piece? Not sure. Would that make a 100% raw foodist angry? Once again, I don’t know. But there is a bigger question brewing here. Just how raw do you have to be?

I once heard a quote, “Perfection is not an option”. I fell in love with that saying and it has been my motto ever since. I believe that trying to be perfect just sets us up for failure. Do I believe in doing the best you can do? Yes. I also believe in striving to be better. But perfection? Way too restricting.

There are people who eat 100% raw food. I admire them and respect their choices. There are times that I am 100% raw. Honestly, it is when I feel the best. But I don’t always find it practical. Nor do I suggest that someone starting a raw diet should go 100% immediately. It is a great way to set yourself up for failure. For me, it is about striving to be the best, not perfect. Transitioning raw into your life is easier than going 100% cold turkey. Replacing that a cheesecake that is made from eggs, sugar, cream cheese, etc, with one that has a handful of cashews and almonds as it’s main ingredients is going to make a difference in how you feel. It is a start. When you realize that you can have healthy food that tastes great, you are on your way.

I don’t want to keep score. I want you to realize that there are healthier alternatives to what you may be eating. I believe that the more raw foods you eat, the healthier you will be. Will you eat super healthy food if it doesn’t appeal to you? Probably not. So, if adding a grain of chipotle pepper to a recipe pushes the flavor over the top, I am going to do it. How raw you want to be is a personal choice. I can just hope that my recipes encourage you to incorporate as much raw into your diet as you can.

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Eco Mama November 20, 2009 at 10:04 pm

Angry over chipotle peppers? What a turn off! You can serve me your eggplant any day and I’d be most grateful! Raw foodists often use maple syrup and that’s not technically raw either. Same with nutritional yeast. I think if you make it too strict and militant people will recoil away from something they would have otherwise gotten excited about. It might be nice to know the that there’s a speck of non-raw on your eggplant, but it’s certainly nothing to get fired up about.

I love your creativity with food and you have inspired me so much! I look forward to each post and I’m okay with the chipotle peppers!

Isle Dance November 20, 2009 at 10:35 pm

Great thoughts. Gorgeous photo.

Damon November 20, 2009 at 10:38 pm

Honestly I’ve heard something like staying at 51% raw is enough to keep the benefits coming. It’s just up to us to educate ourselves and each other as to what REAL food really is, how to acquire it and how to enjoy it’s maximum nutrition. I prefer to not wear the “raw” label but I will proudly if it would help ;)

Peace!

Java Guy November 20, 2009 at 10:40 pm

Amen, Eco Mama! I always say moderation in all things, including moderation. I’ll keep score then: Susan 1, Purists 0. What a great picture, too!

polly raichert November 20, 2009 at 10:59 pm

Thank you so much Susan for the wonderful recipes you post and inspire us with. It helps to keep me on track. I try to check your site daily. Thanks for all the effort you put into this! You’re a God send. Keep it up! Made the raw chocolate from your class last Sat. Turned out awesome. My non-foodies loved it. Another great creation! Thanks for this addition to our raw food recipe stash. Can’t wait for your next class. They never fail:)

Susan November 21, 2009 at 12:34 am

It isn’t a contest…just different ways of looking at things….

Ida November 21, 2009 at 10:26 am

I like adding raw foods to my diet to feel better, be more alkaline and less acid. Being angry is way too acid-forming, even if I was 100% raw. It is not just food that affects our health. Our emotions cause biochemical reactions that impact our health. I would rather have happy endorphins floating around my brain and blood, than nasty old cortisol and adrenaline!

cristina November 21, 2009 at 11:26 am

I like raw foods because they make me feel very good but sometimes it’s a lonely path and I have encountered many obstacles along the way. Definitely the biggest turn-off is when I encounter an extremist who takes this beautiful philosophy of vibrance and darkens my palette with rigid rules that don’t really capture the greater essence of living this lifestyle. I studied with the Most Experienced Raw Chefs and Instructors this summer at LIving Light Culinary Institute, and I was very pleased to learn that some ingredients are technically not raw yet that doesn’t mean that the food they compliment will loose any of it’s enzymes… I am referring to spices, condiments, jelling agents, thickening agents, and binders. These are crucial for many successful recipes. Susan, I adore your articles and your site… thanks for sharing so much!!!

Dot D. November 21, 2009 at 11:38 am

I love the food, the pictures, the idea of taking it slowly and in moderation. In doing so, I would not mind a bit of UNraw on my plate. People are different. Each of us needs to know who we are and what is best for us individually. Best of luck to each of us on our way to good health and happy living.

Kelly Parr November 21, 2009 at 1:30 pm

Your post can be summed up on one word… FREEDOM!
It not only taste good…. but feels good!

Amanda@thegrainsofparadise November 21, 2009 at 2:15 pm

Great post! Your pics are always so beautiful! Aloha, Amanda

Earth Mother – In The Raw November 21, 2009 at 2:23 pm

To whoever left that freakin’ comment…not to worry, I’ll eat your share of the eggplant bacon. ‘Nuff said!

bitt November 21, 2009 at 2:25 pm

i don’t think anyone i know would get angry over that. I am pretty sensitive to certain cooked foods but I can use little amounts fine. Like soy lethicin. I think most people who eat raw realize that there are so many ingredients you can’t control.

However, if you snuck something that’s not vegan on my plate, I might be mad. (but it’s happened and I survived)

:-)

Monique November 21, 2009 at 5:24 pm

Hi Susan,

I’ve only recently fond your website and so far I think your recipes and pictures are incredible. I’m a certified raw food chef myself and I have to say there is sometimes the odd ingredient that is not raw. But who cares? I don’t! As a chef it’s important to make the food taste amazing and look amazing. Add nutritious to the list and you have a perfect match. I think you are doing great and I like what I see so far. If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s this, there will always be one person poking there head out of the cave and complaining about something. You can never please everyone, so why try. Please yourself!

Thea Witsil November 22, 2009 at 11:18 am

Hi Susan,

I just recently found your site and I have to say it is amazing for so many reasons. The attention to detail is flawless, the photo’s are exquisite, the recipes delicious and most importantly your philosophy and wisdom about the path is right on target. This is such a deeply personal journey and your respect for that is apparent. I have struggled with my weight and health for years and have just recently (Nov 1st) shifted my diet. I am by no means a purest nor do I aim to be. By eating raw vegan organic foods 80% – 100% I have lost weight, gained health and feel great! This path is a keeper!!

Thanks for your encouragement Susan!!

Turil December 1, 2009 at 12:02 pm

It’s not about “how much raw are you”, it’s about honesty. It’s about being respectful enough to be upfront about what you use in your recipes, so that people can make their own decisions about whether or not they want to eat it. Agave nectar isn’t raw. Maple syrup is about as non-raw as you can get (cooked for days usually!). Most spices and dried fruits aren’t raw. In fact, most commercially-produced-anything-in-a-package isn’t raw.

Just be honest and say that your goal is “mostly raw”, and then say what ingredients you’re using in that mostly raw recipe, because the worst thing you can do is to deceive people to the point where they don’t want to have anything to do with you. If you’re not sure it’s raw, don’t say it is.

Susan December 1, 2009 at 12:16 pm

I am very clear that I am not about being 100% raw. I am working hard to help people learn how to incorporate more raw food into their daily diet. You are correct, maple syrup is not raw and I notate that in recipes, if I use it. The spices…such a small amount is used that it doesn’t effect the nutritional value or enzyme content.

Joie December 1, 2009 at 8:23 pm

A food snob who would split hairs in such a manner needs to get over him/herself. Anyone moving in the direction of raw foods needs support, not ridicule. You can serve me the dish you described anytime and I would gratefully give thanks for the lovely presentation. MY mother would have told the critic, “If you don’t like it don’t eat it. However criticize it as you leave the table so there is plenty for the rest of us who appreciate what I prepared.”

Turil December 4, 2009 at 1:34 pm

Out of curiosity, where do you specify that you aren’t 100% raw? As for the other things, again, all that’s important is that you clarify what is raw and what isn’t (agave, spices, etc.) and let your readers decide if it’s important or not, because what is insignificant to you might be quite significant to others. Be honest, and be happy, and let others be free to choose what’s best for them based on the facts, rather than having to guess what’s going on.

I love the idea of increasing people’s intake of raw food, so it’s great that you promote it. And I also think it’s important to encourage people to be fully raw, even if it’s just for a while, so that they can see what it does for their body. The difference between 95% and 100% can be dramatic.

Susan December 4, 2009 at 2:18 pm

I state how I feel about being 100% raw in many places on this blog. You can start with the “about me” page. This article represents how I feel.

Allen January 27, 2010 at 1:11 am

I found this website just yesterday, and after only a casual perusal, I noticed it wasn’t a “100% Raw” site, but just that it was mostly raw…You’ve made that clear so no one should be offended. I made the rawchoes (only I used flax crackers instead of the raw chips) and I made one of the salads for a bunch of friends. They all LOVED! the food. Keep up the good work!

Janet March 5, 2010 at 8:13 pm

If you’re that fanatical about what you’re eating, you should already know if it is 100% raw. Why do the fanaticals seem so angry?

Deborah Howard April 3, 2010 at 1:53 pm

Hi Susan:

What a gorgeous website! I printed off many of your recipes, but I didn’t see a way to print just the recipe and ended up printing pages of comments, as well. I lived in Ft. Collins for 7 years but discovered raw food after moving to Boston almost 4 years ago. I have been vegan for more than 17 years.

I have a problem sprouting some grains, such as buckwheat and kamut, and sometimes legumes. They get slimy even though I use grapefruit seed extract powder in the water. I use a large Sproutman sprouter with the watering device. One of the Grezzo chefs said they use food grade hydrogen peroxide spray. They have the same sprouter.

Thanks for the inspiring website. It is better than the raw cookbooks I have seen or the large one that I own.

Regards,

Deborah Howard

Kdot June 1, 2010 at 10:35 pm

Where can I find your bacon eggplant recipe? Sounds delish!!

Susan June 1, 2010 at 10:42 pm

There is a search function on the site. Just type in Eggplant Bacon and it will take you to the post.

Jenn December 30, 2010 at 11:45 pm

I am so impressed with raw food after finding this site. I am eating basic fruits and vegetables to stay 75% raw, but now, seeing all your inviting delicious looking recipes, I am so excited.

Thank you so much for sharing these with us. I will be a fan for life :)

Janine March 13, 2011 at 11:00 pm

I have only recently started on this wonderful journey in to raw food, and I have to say without web sites like this I think I would have given up, there is so much to learn and what a joy it has been to find this site to help on the journey. Thank you

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