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Help with a non-raw list!

kandacekandace Raw Newbie

We have almost 4,000 recipes here at Gone Raw now! Looking through them (and many raw books), there are so many ingredients that find themselves into raw recipes, but aren’t necessarily 100% raw. And, this works for many people.

However, we’d like to post a page here on Gone Raw that lists these ingredients along with 100% raw substitution idea to help out those newly navigating the raw waters. That way, everyone is able to make informed decisions about which recipes they’d like to enjoy.

Here’s where we need your help. What ingredients are you seeing in raw recipes lately that aren’t 100% raw? And, if you have ideas for substitutions, please share those as well! Once we have a good list put together, we’ll create a new page on the site.

Thanks for your help!


  • Thanks for bringing this up, Kandace. The rule of thumb I’ve seen around the net is that if you can’t make a meal out of it, it’s not raw. Could you eat an entire bowl of olive oil or vinegar? Also, I would add salt, and bragg’s liquid aminos to the list.

    There’s also the matter of honey, which is raw but not vegan. I’d consider it a raw food along with raw milk and raw fish, but it shouldn’t be listed as raw vegan.

    As for substitutes, I’m not much of a chef and rarely do much food prep anymore, but I’m sure some others will have some ideas.

  • alpdesignsalpdesigns Raw Newbie

    Check out Chris and Zoe’s “dead” food list.

  • elizabethhelizabethh Raw Newbie

    I disagree respectfully with Justine. For example, the veganism of honey is arguable. I consider it a vegan food because it was never actually a part of the bee’s body, just like bee pollen.
    Also, although I cannot make a meal out of olive oil, I certainly do have truly raw (pressed below 25 degrees celsius) extra virgin olive oil. Also, celtic sea salt is truly raw, although I wouldn’t make a meal of it.
    I would also probably not make a full meal out of basil or parsley, but they are definitely raw (the fresh variety at least). I don’t think the whole “making a meal out of it” description is accurate when describing raw foods. All meals should be balanced, with the exception of mono fruit meals which are perfect on their own!
    I would argue that nama shoyu is not raw but living, similarly, miso and kombucha are also not raw but living. Perhaps differentiating between these terms would be helpful.

  • For Elizavethh,

    I honestly don’t believe honey is vegan and both the British Vegan Society and American Vegan Society agree that honey is an animal product and should be avoided.

    I guess my problem with salt is that it’s not really a food. It’s a mineral that’s used for seasoning and preserving. Sure, there is naturally occuring salts in whole foods, such as celery, but eating celtic sea salt is basically just eating little rocks scraped up from the coast.

    I guess this is the problem with all diets. There will always be disagreement, so we each need to find the level we are comfortable with.

  • I also consider honey a vegan food. It is not animal flesh. It is not a part of the bee and plus, bees die all the time. But if you choose not to eat honey, fine. It still ought to be considered a vegan food whether it was raw or not. Both Braggs and namu soyu is a soy product which is not good for you. Soy is believed to cause cancer. Also, it is said to be very mucus forming and that brags has naturally occurring MSG in it.

    As for ingredients that are not raw,

    Definitely rolled oats unless truly raw oats. I would include braggs and namu soyu. Personally, I use a little Celtic sea salt here and there. Also, some recipes call for corn starch or arrow root or agar agar which is mixed with water and boiled until it is thickened. Then this thick and gelly substance is added to the raw recipe. I have made a cheddar cheese recipe from www.hacres.com called better than cheddar which called for agar agar which was cooked until thickened but all the other ingredients were raw. I think that this one thickening ingredient should not make the entire recipe not raw.

  • I should point out that since we’re both raw and vegan, we probably want the top ten things in each category, to start with. Something like that.

    I think it should be displayed right on the screen when folks are entering their recipe. In a perfect world, it would flash some kind of non-raw red blinking alert on their screen! But for now, it’s probably sufficient to just put a quick list of things commonly assumed to be raw/vegan that are not!

  • WinonaWinona Raw Newbie

    This is a GREAT idea! I was thinking the same thing – a display when folks enter the recipe that lists dead foods. here’s my dead foods list: all canned foods, braggs liquid amino, maple syrup, brazil nuts, prepackaged frozen vegetables, miso, nama shoyu, nori, rolled oats, nutritional yeast, preshelled nuts, sugar, wild rice (this list was taken from the following website) http://www.purelyraw.com/deadfoodlist.htm

  • Brazil nuts?? Really? I knew all the others you mentioned, Winona, but not brazil nuts.

  • I am very new to raw, but it is not a venture I took lightly when I decided to make the transition…What I mean is, people in this lifestyle usually do their “homework” before making the switch, we’re all intelligent people here, and, speaking from experience, it could be a little daunting and have the appearance of other people telling you what to do if every recipe is going to be flagged due to “questionable” ingredients. I mean, I certainly know nutritional yeast, example, is not truly raw, and I think that whoever put it in the recipe they submitted has it in there for a reason. I can use my judgement. Do we want to run the risk of appearing too hardline and scaring people off that might otherwise embrace a raw lifestyle over a little extraneous ingredient here or there?? Are these “borderline” raw foods really going to significantly halt the detox progress of someone new to raw? Doubtful. At any rate, all I am saying is this: if there are going to be “flags” added to any recipes, PLEASE consider keeping them small and nonintrusive, so that every one is allowed to decide if they choose to be attentive to those kinds of things or not. Thanks.

  • TomsMomTomsMom Raw Newbie

    On some of the suggestions, like nuts, we should consider that some places do, indeed, sell shelled nuts that have not been heat-pastuerized, and are therefore, truly raw. I mean, we don’t want newbies to automatically assume all shelled nuts are heated(although the vast majority are.)

    However, this subject of raw nuts is important. Maybe the list, especially if it is a top ten list, might have some sort of flag with a link for more information for questionable foods, such as most shelled nuts, some seaweeds, etc., because it is possible to find them truly raw. The linked info could explain what to look for and why the food is often not really raw.

    That way, they could be listed in a top ten and still not scare off people who would like to enjoy them if they can find them raw.

  • spiritedmamaspiritedmama Raw Newbie

    All of these are great suggestions, especially a link to more info. on specific ingredients. With that said, and maybe it is because I have been doing the raw thing a while and I don’t consider myself a “newbie” anymore, the easiest solution that I have found for the recipes that have questionably raw ingredients is just to omit that particular ingredient. I do it all the time in recipes from this site, others, as well as raw “cook” books, and the recipes still always come out great.

    P.S….LOVE the new pictures Ray and Kandace! (I like the old ones too!)

  • I like the idea of a collective group of ingredients with details as to how to use them and info on them we can update as we please. Maybe we can include all ingredients raw and unraw alike and for the ones we consider raw unraw and living we can label them as such. Maybe we can post a percentage by the recipe. If someone say has maple syrup in it, we could say it’s 95% raw. They can have listed in the instructions for a 100% raw version use such and such or check the reference once it is made. We could also list ideas for the non-raw ingredients some choose to use such as arrowroot or agar mentioning ways in which they can used and incorporated as to not take away from the raw aspect of the other ingredients they are to be used with in a recipe. Maybe the ingredients can have collaspible comment areas for others to add info they found and let others know about their experiences with the ingredient. Such as how they think it tastes, a good source to buy it, and such. Just some thoughts. Maybe we can also group some of the basic recipes that can help a newbie. The simple ones that can’t be messed up and the proper ways to prepare it. And I also agree, the new pics are quite nice.

  • debbietookdebbietook Raw Master

    On brazil nuts, as mentioned earlier, ‘pre-shelled’ brazil nuts are almost always not raw. Brazils bought in their shells are fine. I’m really glad Candace has raised this, as, yes, although probably mot people aren’t 100% raw, the constant inclusion of non-raw ingredients in ‘raw’ recipes is confusing for newcomers. I’m fine with people using them if they want to but couldn’t they just place an asterisk, or a ‘(NR)’ in brackets by the non-raw ingredients? Going back to nuts, I’m always seeing pecans in US ‘raw’ recipes. Pre-shelled pecans must surely be non-raw 99% of the time, as I know from trying to shell them myself that it’s virtually impossible to get them out whole hand-cracking them. The packeted ones have probably been steamed for shell removal. Substitute walnuts?

  • WinonaWinona Raw Newbie

    Great info on brazil nuts, debbie thanks! I think it’s an excellent recommendation to mention that in shell nuts are generally raw, and shelled nuts generally are not – unless purchased online and they specifically mention they are raw according to raw foodist standards. Love the idea of a rating system on rawness – and other people could rate your recipe! Just under where you rate on if it’s your favorite recipe, you could have a star system based on how rate it is. Then, the author isn’t the only one who can flag the recipe – and since folks have different ideas on what they consider raw, this gives everyone a chance to voice their opinion. Or, have the author’s recipe rating next to the public rawness rating.

  • lzhptlzhpt Raw Newbie

    This is a very interesting topic and after 2 years raw,I still fall off and consider myself a newbie. With all that’s out there, you can feel you are 100% raw and then the Dead Food list comes up and you think, “Oh! Forget it. Pass the chips and tequila!” Finding your way in the raw world, I think is an evolution. First you need those “mostly raw” transition foods, then raw becomes very simple. I do try to include options for the Raw Purists, especially for sweeteners. Long story short-nuts and sweeteners need clarification. Now that I’m rejecting the taste of Bragg’s, I know it’s finally time for that to go. I won’t miss it.

  • angie207angie207 Raw Newbie

    lzhpt – I hear you on getting frustrated & giving up! My mom has finally started eating some raw foods on a egular basis and asking me questions. Then, I started telling her what I was learning about nuts & toxic plastic, etc. and she got really frustrated as if her efforts to be healthy were in vain & hardly seemed worth it! I had to tell her that even if it wasn’t perfect, she is still improving her health, and she asked me to stop telling her every little thing I find out is wrong with our food supply :)

    I know some people know what is raw or not & make the decision whether to use it or not, but I have been eating high raw for almost three years and just barely found out that Nama Shoyu, nutritional yeast, & agar powder aren’t really raw. I also didn’t know at first that maple syrup wasn’t raw, because raw food recipe books used these ingredients. Other things for the list are wild rice, non-raw vinegars (balsamic, etc.) and molasses. I think the list could be presented as “items that aren’t truly raw but a lot of people feel great eating them until they make the decision to be 100% raw” or something like that.

    As for the vegan issue, Gabriel Cousens advocates a 100% vegan diet, which he defines as no dairy, eggs, or flesh. He uses & recommends bee pollen. Then there is the definition by the vegan associations. You could state both viewpoints so that new people will at least understand the controversy. Good idea! (It would have helped me a lot to have all this information in one place instead of learning it slowly through reading one book at a time.) :)

  • queenfluffqueenfluff Raw Newbie

    Leave out salt? I might as well kill me now. I might be the only person in the world who feels better after doing a raw “salt shot” on my hand. :)

    Salt comes in a raw form. The water in your body is closest to sea water so salt is a part of us. For those of us that don’t like celery, the raw sea salts are indispensable.

    Most agave you buy at stores (even the ones that say raw) are not raw but it hard to get the truely raw agave. But this doesn’t stop people from using the ones labled raw at the store.

    And yes, truly raw cashews and brazil nuts are available.

    I think this list is a good idea but I don’t want Gone Raw to become the sort of raw site that lists things like salt as bad. I might help list the TYPES of salt that are raw. I agree with Tiger lily.

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