What is a “raw vegan” or a "raw fooder"? A raw vegan is someone who eats only raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds–none of which are ever heated above 105f (40.6 celcius). More than just carrot sticks and salads, raw food is a movement about eating living foods and living well! Raw food recipes include pastas, cakes, cookies, and chips... all made from real, living food.
When you start reading about raw food, you'll immediately notice people talking about Vitamix blenders, Excalibur dehydrators, fancy juicers, and julienne/spirooli slicers.
Do not be alarmed! You do not need all of these things right away!
Raw food appliances – What’s necessary and what isn’t
Arguably, you will never need all of these things.
Just relax and take it slow.
1. Get inspired
The very first step toward becoming a raw fooder is to get inspired. Unless you're excited about raw food, you're not going to make it!
So get excited and inspired by raw food. For some people it might be the concept of weight loss that's inspiring. For others, inspiration might be in terms of anti-aging, the healthful benefits, or simply just living a lifestyle that feels right.
For me, a bit of weight loss was definitely in order, but the most important thing for me was in terms of energy boost.
Whatever the reason, get inspired!
2. Get one recipe source
The next step is to get yourself one really good book or recipe website that hopefully combines a bit of education (but not too much because I find yammering on about nutrition and protein pretty boring!) and some really good basic recipes. I started with "Uncooking with Raw Rose: Your Guide to Raw Foods" which must be a good book because it has been the only book I've bought so far! It explains pretty much everything you need to know in just enough detail.
But of course now I just recommend you hang out here with me at www.therawtarian.com :) But don't overwhelm yourself too much. Just pick one book or website and stick with it.
In terms of kitchen appliances, when I first jumped into raw food I had very few kitchen appliances:
I owned normal dishes and utensils, had a fridge and a stove, and I owned a $30 blender.
That's pretty much it.
I used my $30 blender for the first six months. During that time, I saved up for a Vitamix blender. I bought my Vitamix after I was fully raw for about 6 months. I still use it today.
4. Food processor
After a week on raw food, I began getting tired of salads and smoothies. I wanted a way to really blend my food so that I could make chocolate truffles and that kind of thing. I was able to make truffles in the blender, but it took a long time and was difficult to clean.
After two weeks, I made my first raw food appliance purchase: a food processor. I bought it at my local hardware store. It was low-end and it cost me approximately $50. Why did I buy a food processor first? Well, it was pretty cheap and allowed me to do so much more than what I was doing before.
I am a pretty frugal (read: cheap!) person so I make a lot of decisions based on price. I wouldn't order a food processor online. I'd just buy one locally because they are easy to find.
The food processor was awesome. It really changed my eating habits. I found the food processor most beneficial because it allowed me to:
- slice and grate my food. For example, I could easily and quickly slice beets and carrots for use in salads. Serving the vegetables in a different way really changes the flavours and textures. (Trust me.);
- make larger batches of things that I could kind-of make in the blender, such as chocolate truffles;
- make recipes like hummus, veggie pate, carrot cake, etc. I couldn't make these in my cheap blender because the blender was too small and didn't blend everything properly.
I was totally happy with just the food processor, a crappy blender (and a coffee grinder) for about two months.
5. Coffee grinder (for nuts)
Around the same time that I bought the food processor I bought a coffee grinder.
Coffee grinders are used to grind small nuts or seeds. For example, flax seeds. Flax seeds are extremely useful in raw food recipes. They become kind of gelatinous and are used to bind food together. For example, in cookie recipes or veggie burger recipes.
The reason that you want to buy a coffee grinder in addition to a blender and/or a food processor is because flax seeds, for example, are TINY! And they are difficult--if not impossible--to properly grind unless they're in something like a coffee grinder.
After two months, I was getting bored with my staple foods and recipes. It was time to get into dehydrating!
Note: you can buy pre-ground flax seeds (called flax seed meal) that may eliminate your need for a coffee grinder.
Yes, yes, real raw food people want the Excalibur dehydrators.
Excalibur is the undisputed champion in the raw food dehydrating world.
Most people get the 9-tray Excalibur dehydrator.
BUT, being as cheap as I am, I scoured the internet and bought a cheaper 8-tray version, called the VegiKiln. It was half the price!
Just like any hobby or lifestyle, there are many fun and addictive accessories that one can spend money on. I try to really limit my spending on my raw food lifestyle.
A lot of people buy:
- fancy measuring cups;
- fancy storage containers;
- and who knows what else.
The one thing that I realllllllllllllly wanted was a julienne/spirooli slicer so that I could make "noodles" out of zucchinni etc. I didn't splurge on one of these until I'd been raw for a few years. But I wish I'd done it sooner because I actually use it frequently to make zucchini noodles.
The best recommendation I can give in terms of buying raw food appliances is to start slowly. When you start day-dreaming about a juicer or a Vitamix or a dehydrator and are getting frustrated, it's probably time to get one.