11 days: Recipes for Raw Energy

February 24th, 2010 · Lisa · book review, Review · Comments

Life is so much easier when you have bountiful energy. Seriously, there is nothing worse then trying to tackle a difficult task when your eyes are closing and your muscles are aching. So, if you’re going to ask your body to accomplish a lot (and most of us have pretty demanding schedules these days) then you’d better be ready to rest well and consume high-quality fuel.

Luckily, a vegan diet is a pretty good place to start to make sure you have rich energy stores. The most common comment I hear from people who have recently adopted a healthy, plant-based diet is the surge in their energy levels. Raw foodists also commonly report an overwhelming increase in their feelings of energy when they shift to consuming unprocessed foods.

When I saw the book, Raw Energy: 124 Raw Food Recipes for Energy Bars, Smoothies, and Other Snacks to Supercharge Your Body it certainly piqued my interest. When I’m running a lot (or working a lot) I love to have little snacks throughout the day to keep my momentum. Many nutritionists recommend consuming 5 or 6 small meals over the course of the day (in response to real hunger instead of the clock) rather than sitting down to 3 large meals. This books seemed like the perfect resource to keep me satiated as I ramped up my mileage in preparation for race day.

The book shares information about raw foods, pantry staples and basic techniques before launching into the recipes. The recipes run gamut of juices; smoothies; dips and spreads; frozen fruit creams; energizer bars, balls and bites; cereals and parfaits, fruit and vegetable soups; and candy and cookies. The majority of the recipes call for few ingredients and simple preparations (only a few require dehydrating). The author is not strict about the “rawness’ of every ingredient, calling for maple syrup and candied ginger in some recipes but those are easily substituted if they don’t fit into your dietary requirements. Most of the recipes in Raw Energy are vegan but a number of the sweet treats call for honey, in those cases I simply suggest using agave syrup instead.

With those caveats out of the way, I have to say this book was great fun to explore. Since the recipes are really easy to prepare you can create something in an instant (as long as your pantry is well stocked). There are lots of familiar snacks (ants on a log, fruit with nut butter) but I was introduced to lots of new flavour and texture combinations as well. I think it would be a fantastic resource for parents looking to prepare lots of interesting treats for those families or anyone wanting to move away from consuming process snacks and foods. Many of the treats store well in the freezer and would be available to pull out and enjoy on any occasion. There are a few great recipes for treats that would travel really well. Most of the cereals and trail mixes could be packed up to support you when hiking, biking or avoiding airplane food. After a brief foray into what this book has to offer I know I’ll turn to it often to fill my freezer and pantry with little bites that will provide the energy I need to conquer life’s next great challenge.

Here are some of the great things I tried:

Chewy Apricot Macaroons
Lemon Doodles
Cashew Maple Oatmeal Squares
Date Logs (as balls- in the centre)
Living Strawberry Zipper Oatmeal

Everything I made was tasty and satisfying. The author loves dates, ginger, figs, avocado and berries and highlights these flavours throughout her recipes. Come on, can you really go wrong with that delicious list?

In case you’re concerned that raw foods may not provide the energy required for your active pursuits, I’m not the only busy vegan who eats a diet rich in raw foods, Brendan Brazier (ultramarathoner), Tonya Kay (dancer) and Tim vanOrden (tower runner) are all huge advocates of the benefits of eating living foods. They all argue that raw foods promote recovery and allow the body to consume nutrient dense food that fuels their adventures without wasting energy on processing empty calories.

So, what’s you’re favourite raw, energy-filled snack? Do you tend to eat small snacks throughout the day or sit down to a big meal at regular times? I know that my digestion is best when I actually pay attention to my hunger rather than trying to fit meals into predetermine slots in my day. However, my office doesn’t like to schedule meetings according to my appetite. Oh well, I do the best I can to balance responsibilities and conscious eating.

Today’s Totals:
Walk: 1.5 hours
Yoga: 30 mins
Fun: Finding out daiya cheese is available in Toronto and helping two women find new kitchen inspiration with some great vegan cookbooks.

9 Comments

  1. Posted February 24, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    Nice review! Thanks to your review, I've put the book on my wishlist. My favorite snack is nut butter. Almond, cashew, or tahini. (By the way, I've had that wicked Living Tree almond butter. SO expensive, and absolutely ruins you for all others.) I eat the butters on pieces of fruit, or on a cracker, or just by the spoonful! Yum. I just picked up strawberries today at a local produce market – they are already in season here in my home state of Louisiana. I have oat groats too. I think I'll give that strawberry zipper oatmeal a try. Thanks Lisa.

  2. Posted February 25, 2010 at 12:17 am

    This book looks great – I love your photos! I agree, it's hard to go wrong with dried fruit/nut combos.

    I made Daiya nachos tonight. Totally mind blowing. I haven't thought much about cheese for a long time at this point, so it wasn't as much of a big deal for me. But my bf is newer to veganism and was like a kid in a candy store! You must get some soon :)

  3. Posted February 25, 2010 at 12:23 am

    What a great review; I'll keep my eyes peeled for it! I tend to be a snacker for the most part but lately my work situation, due to several factors both within and beyond my control, has got me eating less consistently and healthily than I'd like to be. I'm hoping spring and getting better settled in will help though :)

  4. Posted February 25, 2010 at 9:33 am

    My favourite raw snack right now are Pecan Date Balls that I recently found in the 25 day veggie challenge! I am addicted to them, in fact worried that I'm soon going to overdo it and be sick of them and never want to eat them again. Just two ingredients into a food processor and that's IT. They take literally 2 minutes to make.

    I try to spread out my lunch into smaller snacks – I'll usually bring some kind of fruit, a main dish of some sort like a pasta or quinoa salad or a sandwhich, and one other snack like nuts or cookies or something. I used to sit down and eat it all at once but now I've been trying to have my snack type thing in the morning, the main when I actually take my lunch break, and my fruit in the afternoon.

    But I am a sucker for having huge dinners. I keep reading that it's not good for you, but I just LOVE eating. Every night I tell myself I'm going to control my portion…I try not to scoop out too much from the pot but when I'm done whatever size serving I took, I just want more, whether I'm hungry or not. I just think mmmmmm that tastes so good and I have very bad self control to not go back for seconds…or thirds, even when I'm literally feeling stuffed.

  5. Posted February 25, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    All the snacks look yummy!

    We love Brendan and Tim!! We actually got to meet Tim, what an amazing guy! We are all for raw foods to fuel us up for working out. We just recently did a post on our favorite workout snacks!

    And regards to your previous post about running, I go back and forth. Some days I am all for running and then others I find it too stressful for my body. So, I guess in moderation for me.

    Pure2raw twins

  6. Posted February 25, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    So happy to see your great review on Raw Energy! I still have not tried anything from it, but I hear the Hazelnut Heavens calling my name:)

    My current favorite snack is cheezy kale chips. Just cant get enough of them:)

    I usually go for smaller, more frequent meals.

  7. Posted February 25, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    Melinda,
    I'm glad to hear I have company in the Living Tree fan club. I'm very jealous that local berries are already arriving in your life. Savour them!

    Raw,
    Thanks for letting us know that Daiya has found its way to Toronto. I have a vegan brother who is going to be excited about that announcement.

    a-k,
    I hope your spring is full of healthy snacking!

    barbee,
    Pecan date balls sound amazing. I'm glad you've found a snack you love.

    twins,
    I loved your post on recovery puddings. It inspired my breakfast pudding this morning.

    As for running, I think we need to listen to our bodies and follow our instinct as much as possible.

    evergreen,
    I hope the Hazelnut Heavens turn out amazing. I love kale chips as well. I will be making a few batches this weekend in anticipation of my trip.

  8. Posted July 31, 2010 at 2:24 am

    I think we can approach all the natual resources like solar energy or win energy. But never waste all this good alternative that we have. Actually i visited a site called costa rica investment opportunities result very interesting most of all their natural resources this country presents.

  9. Posted August 2, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    Thanks for the interesting link Kimberly!

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