Essential Equipment for The Raw Food Beginner
– by Erin Stamm
If you’ve just begun experimenting with adding raw foods into your diet, or you are considering making a full lifestyle change to adopt a full-time raw food diet, all the changes you are about to make may seem a bit overwhelming.
If you previously followed a SAD deit (aka Standard American Diet) before, not only will the types of raw foods you eat be very different, but the methods of preparing them will be, too. You may be thinking you have to toss your microwave and stove and replace them with high-tech blenders and other gadgets.
Thankfully, incorporating raw foods into your diet need not be complicated or time consuming, and you don’t have to outfit your kitchen with a lot of expensive new equipment. A few basic items should be all you need to get started on your new raw food journey.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Raw soups, smoothies, puddings, “cheeses”, desserts and more will all require some fine blending and pureeing.
While any old blender can do the job (for the most part), you’ll find that investing in a high-powered, quality blender will save you a lot of time and produce much better (and tastier) results. Smoothies will blend smoother, soups can be made right in the blender, and puddings will puree in minutes.
Vitamix and Blendtec blenders are among the top recommendations. If you choose to use a lower-quality blender, you can supplement with a food processor for tougher jobs such as grinding nuts or blending kale.
Warming foods or “baking” desserts will be much easier if you have a basic food dehydrator.
You don’t need an expensive model with multiple rows (unless you plan to make huge batches or entertain regularly); a basic model with trays for fruit leathers will be all you need. You can use this to create energy bars, traditional dessert items, breads, fruit jerkies, and much more.
If you don’t want to invest in a dehydrator, you can also use your oven on a low setting, with the door cracked slightly. However, you will find more precise and efficient results with a dehydrator.
Veggies take center stage in a raw diet, and you will cut, chop, slice, and dice a lot of them in your day-to-day preparation. A good vegetable slicer, or mandoline, will make the job fast and efficient.
Also consider purchasing a spiralizer, which can help you thinly cut veggies to create “pastas” out of items like zucchini and squash.
Nut Milk Bag
Nut milks and cheeses will become a staple in your diet, especially if you enjoyed a lot of milk and cheese in your previous diet.
To ensure that your milk is made from raw sources (many processed nut milks include steaming and other heat treatments) and is free of chemicals or other additives, you can make your own by using a nut milk bag. This inexpensive, fine mesh bag allows you to strain the nut pulp from the milk.
If you do not wish to purchase a nut milk bag, you can get the same results with a piece of cloth with a similar grain, or you can make your own!
A simple sprouter can be purchased for about $10, and it will allow you to sprout items at home for use in sandwiches, salads, dessert items, and more.
Beginning a raw food diet does not require you to purchase any new equipment. Eating raw is as simple as eating more uncooked fruits and vegetables. However, these basic items of equipment can make the journey a little easier, especially for those who were accustomed to and enjoyed preparing elaborate meals!
Enjoy the journey!
Erinn Stam is the Managing Editor for a nursing scholarship program website. She attends Wake Technical Community College and is learning about single mom nursing grants. She lives in Durham, NC with her lovely 4-year-old daughter and exuberant husband.