Tag Archives: raw fruit and vegetables

Raw food in season in January

8 Jan
 

fresh and seasonal is best for your body and the planet

If you pick your fruits and vegetables from where they love growing and when they love growing, you will not only reap maximum flavour, but also maximum nutritional value.  Fundamentally, the idea is that the fruits and vegetables will be happier growing to their full and ultimate individual potential at their ideal pace.  And consuming anything happy can only be good for us.

Imagine if we all ate fruit and vegetables like that all the time. We’d be healthier, more clever and probably wealthier because we wouldn’t, for example, be paying exhorbitant transportation costs for say, mangoes from the Congo.  Not only do our back pockets suffer from the cost of tranporting unripe genetically modified fruit grown in hot houses, but more importantly, our eating behaviours (and I am including myself) are at the expense of our increasingly fragile planet.  Raw and seasonal is the best sustainable and nutritional way to go.

I find my seasonal info here at Eat the Seasons:

VEGETABLES
beetroot, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, carrots, celeriac, celery, chicory, horseradish, jerusalem artichoke, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, onions, parsnips, potatoes (maincrop), radishes, rocket, salsify, shallots, spinach, swede, turnips

FRUIT
apples, clementines, lemons, oranges, passion fruit, pears, pineapple, pomegranate, satsumas, tangerines

HERBS, FLOWERS, FUNGHI, NUTS
almonds, brazil nuts, chestnuts, chives, coriander, hazelnuts, mushrooms (cultivated), mushrooms (wild), parsley, truffles (black), truffles (white), walnuts

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Sincere apology: The hypocrite hit Jay Rayner’s raw nerve

8 Jul

Dear Jay Rayner,

Thank you for your email this morning.  I am so sorry to have offended you by calling you unhealthy and implying that the dark circles under your eyes are related to a liver condition. There are lots of reasons for dark circles under the eyes, one of which is genetics.  So therefore your dark circles under your handsome eyes may have nothing to do with your liver. Not even if it has recently eaten foie gras on at least four continents. I also have dark circles under my eyes but it’s not a genetic condition that affects the colour of my skin, it’s a genetic predisposition affecting the way my liver processes fats… But this is not about me – I now see that I was utterly and completely wrong.  You, however, are 100% right that in the 36 seconds we met, it is completely unfeasible that I could assess your health accurately. I also apologise for the endless profuse and embarrassingly obsequious list of compliments I wrote in my piece about you.  Perhaps it’s disturbing to hear nice things?  I’d love it!  I apologise from the bottom of my heart for that and for, as you pointed out, wasting your time on my bizarre question. I actually found you inspiring… Are we raw food people nuts or what! I hope you can forgive me at some time in the near future and that should other ‘fans’ bother you with their questions covering topics as bizarre as nutritious food, you will be just as polite.

And oh – among the many personal and professional defects you kindly pointed out to me in your email, I can safely say I am absolutely comfortable with my status as a hypocrite, a hack, a quack and a waste of time, but I find most offence and nearly choked to death on my alfalfa sprout and coconut water smoothy (recipe to follow) at your implication that I may be a Daily Mail writer.  That’s not nice Jay!

Thanks though for your invitation to a gym challenge and sorry I can’t make it.  The only challenge I would propose to you is to eat raw fruit and vegetables for a month.  Only 28 days!!!  Just think about it – we can get the best raw chefs in the UK to feed you (although SAF may not want to be involved…) and the best nutritionists to monitor your health inside out.  It’ll be a kind of reverse Super Size Me.  Come on!!!  YOU can do it!!!  You know you want to… You’ll feel a lot less angry at us lovely, happy, healthy, bouncy vegans…

Kindest regards

The RF Hypocrite

PS: Thanks for reminding me about the democracy of the Web.

Jay Rayner doesn’t give a toss about raw food

7 Jul
Jay Rayner's taste buds could with a lot more raw/vegan cruelty

Jay Rayner's taste buds could with a lot more cruelty from vegan food

While at Hay Festival, like the great big nerd I am, I unashamedly queued to have my books signed by both Jay Rayner and Heston Blumenthal (note unashamed name dropping).  In my small moment basking in their celebrity aura, I asked them both the same question; ‘what do you think about raw food?’  While Heston was ‘onto it’, Jay Rayner was, well, less enthusiastic; ‘I don’t give a toss.  If food doesn’t taste nice, it shouldn’t be eaten.’ 

Ignoring the question of ‘what exactly does nice tasting mean?’ – he’s right and I don’t think it’s just because I agree with him.  Raw fruit and vegetable combinations of all sorts are often difficult to swallow, literally.  But I didn’t need to meet him to hear his point of view.  Having read his review of SAF (which I whole-heartedly disagreed with in my own review), he made his point against raw food loudly and clearly in the headline: ‘It’s grim down Saf; vegan cuisine is a non-starter if it’s kind to animals but cruel to the taste buds.’

Jay Rayner is blatantly anti-vegan, anti-vegetarian, anti-raw and having read his recent book; ‘The man who ate the world; In search of the perfect dinner’, which is a kind of Michelin starred, international Super Size Me, he is also clearly anti-healthy food. 

However, I do think he is truly great, not just because he took the time to answer my question honestly, but because he represents the voice from the stomach of just about everyone I know, including the hypocrite in me. He is also really hilarious, completely decadent, down to earth and I happen to know he is extremely generous with his time with charities such as Summer Uni London’s Nang magazine.

Despite the large black rings (swollen liver?) under his bloodshot eyes (adrenal exhaustion?), a sweaty pallor (high blood pressure?) and swollen belly (candida?), Jay’s energy and wit defy a body under nutritional stress. My instinct following my 36 second ‘meeting’ with him was that he is a genuinely happy and successful man and also a genuinely unhealthy one.

But at what point do we let go of our emotional conditioning around the food we eat and prioritise our health?  And when do we allow ourselves to make choices that are not centred around what our mothers allowed or didn’t allow us to eat? Jay constantly referred to his famous Mother, Clare Rayner, in his book and he’s not alone in making the connection to food and mothering.  We all do it all the time, although mostly subconsciously.  But does eating something  that triggers happy (or sad) memories of childhood, maternal approval or feelings of success taste ‘nicer’ than the real clear-headed-living-in the-present-moment experience of eating fresh, natural, local, ripe,  nutrient-rich, absolutely 100% raw food?

I love Jay’s column and his books and don’t want him to change but I also, selfishly, want him to keep writing about food for a very long time.  I also, as a personal aim, want him to, one day, write about a raw meal in the same way he writes about the ‘Arpege tomato’.

There simply must be a way to embed the same ecstatic ‘nice tasting’ triggers in the experience of eating raw fruit and vegetables in our children, that Jay gets from buttery, garlicky escargots and foie gras and I get from cheddar cheese and gherkins on a freshly baked baguette.

Heston Blumenthal is ‘onto’ raw food

6 Jun
Blurry and distant pic of guru Heston Blumenthal at Hay Festival from the back seat

Blurry and distant pic of gurus Heston Blumenthal and Jay Rayner at Hay Festival from the back seat

I managed to speak to Fat Duck’s super-chef Heston Blumenthal and Observer food critic Jay Rayner in Hay and asked them both the same question; ‘What do you think about raw food?’

Jay’s response was so ‘interesting’ it deserves its own story, which I’ll write when I finish reading his book; ‘The man who ate the world; in search of the perfect dinner’. Heston, however replied; ‘It’s a big area and we’re onto it. It’s not just about blending though is it?’

Firstly – wow. It’s extremely exciting to me that one of the world’s best chefs acknowledges the existence of the raw food movement without choking and is actually doing something about it (not that I have proof…). Heston is already famous as a molecular gastronomist but now he is also apparently looking at the chemical and nutritional impact of the food on the human body over the long term. Very cool indeed.

Secondly, he’s also right on both counts:
1. I squirmed when he said the thing about the blender because I rely heavily on mine. And if someone asked me what the most important piece of equipment is for raw foodists, I would have to say their blender comes in the top three (alongside a good chopping board and knife). But he’s right – there’s got to be more to raw food than blending (and soaking, and sprouting, etc…).
2. The area of food that makes up the raw food movement is such a big, big, big area already and it’s growing. But do I think he means by ‘big area’? Here’s a list of diets/lifestyles that incorporate and/or affect our choices of raw food and how we eat it.

Raw fruit and vegetables
Wild raw fruit and vegetables
Veganism
Vegetarianism
Biodynamic
Local
Organic
Alkaline vs acidic
Body type 
Blood Type
Juices only
Grapes only 
Food combining
Living foods
Macrobiotic

It’s by no means a complete list but just noting it down makes me realise that there is so much information about healthy diets out there and to embark on a mission to maximise both flavour and nutritional value is a big and beautiful task.  And isn’t it inspiring to think that such a talented man is ‘onto it’? I’ll just have to find a way to ask Heston exactly what that means.

Raw Food on Eurostar

11 May

Compared to carbon-greedy airlines, Eurostar has always struck me as a relatively progressive and eco-friendly brand. So when my friends and I booked our trip to Belgium I was sure they would have healthy food for both someone like me who can easily dabble in cooked food if they have to and someone much nicer who eats raw food 100% of the time.

Fruit salad on the Eurostar

Fruit salad on the Eurostar

If you travel Business Premier or Leisure select you have lots of options however you will need to give notice: 12 hours for vegetarian meals, 24 hours for children’s meals and 36 hours notice for kosher, halal, vegan, diabetic, low fat, low salt and gluten free meals. When I rang the dedicated phone number (01777 77 78 78) and asked about raw food meals this is what happened:

RFH*: Hi, Do you have a raw fruit and vegetable option?
E*: Yes, we offer vegetarian.
RFH: Is that cooked?
E: Yes.
RFH: I’d prefer a meal of fruit and vegetables that is uncooked. Do you offer that?
E: Yes. You can have the vegetarian meal uncooked.
RFH: Will that be raw fruit and vegetables?
E: I’ll check.
Time passes
E: Hello. We cannot do a raw fruit and vegetables option, but you can bring your own.
RH: Thank you.

I wonder what an uncooked vegetarian meal looked like in her mind – raw pasta and tomatoes?? No thanks. 

While no raw fruit and vegetable option is officially available on Eurostar, here is the link to the standard class menu, which offers the raw options ranging from a fruit salad, garden salad, various fruit pieces, to a dried fruit and nut mix.

Needless to say I took their advice and brought my own.

*’RFH’ is me, the raw food hypocrite, and ‘E’ is Eurostar call centre.