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:
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.
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.