The Magazine for Vegan
Click here to Advertise on VegFamily
Behind the Scenes
Vegan Cookies from Allison's Gourmet
Personal Development for Smart People
The Raw Food Coach's How To Get Started With Raw Food
By Karen Knowler
Reviewed by Tammie Ortlieb
I began this e-book the way a typical omnivore might begin a book on veganism, with a bit of skepticism and a healthy dose of both uncertainty and doubt. I mean, come on. I live in the real world—restaurants, vacation, kids, meat eating husband, work, school. The nutrition issue, of course, was also a concern. Could I fill my needs on a raw or even partially raw diet? What about hunger? And, that nagging but all too real fear—what would others think of me? Veganism is different. But raw? That's just insane! I know, right?
Fortunately, Knowler is an extremely patient coach and kind with both the beginner and the cynic. While seeming at first overly simplistic, How to Get Started provides a great basic knowledge for the younger or beginning cook and a good degree of hand holding for those just a wee bit awkward. Not only does Knowler list foods considered acceptable on the raw diet plan, she describes helpful equipment and suggests kitchen arrangements to clear the mind and cleanse the soul. While at times somewhat redundant (how many times do I need to know what a juicer is and how to use it?!), the repetition does reinforce the idea that this is a healthful, safe, tasty way to eat.
Article continues below
In fact, one doesn't have to even be interested in going raw to benefit from the lessons in these pages. I quite enjoyed the how-to's of sprouting and may just give it a go sometime. And my more than ample back end could benefit from Knowler's "don't eat when you're not hungry" mantra. For that matter, the rest of the "10 Important Guidelines for a Truly Healthy Raw Food Diet" are equally good rules of thumb?eat lots of green foods, buy organic, drink water, love what you eat. Veteran cooks as well as those just learning will enjoy the time saving recipes included at the back of the book. My favorites have to be the Strawberry Ice Dream Smoothie and the Banana-Almond Milk.
My biggest gripe with the book is that Knowler assumes the reader is clueless in the kitchen. I have trouble believing that even the greenest (cute little pun intended!) among us would need an entire listing of fruit and vegetable descriptions or a step by step of what a food processor or zester looks like and how to use it. I will give her points, however, for warning me that detox symptoms are normal in the beginning stages of following a raw diet. I mean, one might want to be prepared for oncoming—diarrhea, or headaches—and zits. Suffer through a bit of this, Knowler assures, and you come to the burst of energy and sense of inner wellness that is ultimately the reason you are to follow this plan.
I surprised myself upon finishing the book. Immediately I printed out a copy of menu 2 (50-75% raw) and posted it on my fridge. This was a good compromise for me—somewhere between the "you go, girl!" completely raw meal plan and the just a teeny little bit, "let's take this slow" raw menu. After reading How to Get Started, I feel the need to at least incorporate more raw foods into my current diet and to be more aware of my reasons for eating. Confession, though, I'm not very good at diets. It is day one and already I've cheated. But the menu is stuck with a Little Caesar's magnet to my fridge door. I will see it and I will know that I should make myself a nice big salad or fresh fruit smoothie. It will remind me to lay off the Diet Coke and turn more often to pure water or juice that I make myself from the apples on my counter. Maybe I will see it and remember "don't eat if you're not hungry." That, I think, is worth the price of the entire book.
Buy The Raw Food Coach's How To Get Started With Raw Food now and get started today!