Wednesday, August 3, 2011

More Raw Foods, Especially Seeds

This is a continuation of a previous post, which you can read here.

One of the main raw food staples in our house is fresh fruit.  We routinely eat fruit as a side dish, a snack, as dessert, and even on its own with yogurt or granola for breakfast.  You and your children can have quick and easy access to even large fruits like watermelon, cantaloupe and pineapple if you cut them into bite sized pieces when you bring them home and store them in the refrigerator.  Then you can make fruit salad in minutes.

For a couple of years, I’ve been thinking about and trying out ways to get vegetables on the breakfast plate.  Since my children don’t like omelets or anything egg centered, this has been tough.  Last week, my kids actually asked for raw veggies with their breakfast!  They asked for jicama, which happens to be high in vitamin C, and a good source of fiber, folic acid, and potassium.  Not bad for a breakfast side.  We eat it with lime or with a ground chile, lime, and salt mix called Tajin.  Jicama is also great in a fruit or green salad, and Tajin is a great topping for other fruits and saladsYou can find jicama with the root vegetables in the produce department; it is roundish like an onion and has a brown skin that you need to peel.

When the jicama ran out, they asked for cucumber, which is a good source of vitamin K, and also contains vitamins A (mostly in the peel) and C, potassium, and phosphorus.  The edible seeds are another nutrient rich part of the cucumber.  According to The Food Pharmacy and, most edible seeds contain protease inhibitors, which in addition to disrupting the creation of cancer cells prevent the self-replication of certain viruses, including hepatitis C, HIV, mumps, some influenzas, and smallpox.

This brings me to another great reason to eat raw food: certain foods can promote a healthy immune system and give it a boost, including raw garlic, raw ginger, raw lemon or lime juice, and raw unfiltered honey (especially if it is local).   If we have been exposed to an illness, I make certain recipes for my family that use these ingredients in their raw form to help us fight off the illness.  One of my favorites is Sesame Noodles from Rachael Ray’s first cookbook, 30 Minute Meals.  I’ll post the recipe below.  By the way, this cookbook includes chapters for pestos, dinner sized salads, and cooked greens: all healthy stuff.  Plus, tons of pastas and take-out favorites you can make at home in healthier ways.

Another raw food type is what I call add-ins: nutritional boosters that I add to oatmeal, barley, and pancake batter.  In her book Super Baby Food, Ruth Yaron calls these Healthy Extras because they can be added to many recipes.  Flax seeds are great sources of omega-3 oil and fiber.  You can buy the seeds and grind them yourself as you need them, or buy them already ground as flax seed meal.  Since the oil will go rancid, you should buy flax seeds or the meal from a store that keeps their stock fresh and store it in the freezer when you bring it home.  Wheat germ, the seed of the wheat berry, contains vitamin E and B vitamins and should also be stored cold; I keep mine in the refrigerator.  Wheat germ is pre-ground.  I add about a tablespoon of each of these to cooked oatmeal and barley and about two tablespoons to pancake batter.

I also use ground raw nuts (more seeds!) as add-ins.  I have a circular grater that twists, the Farberware Professional Multi Grater.  Both of my girls can operate this grater safely, so I just place the nuts inside and let them have fun grinding them into a fine powder.  We grind a bunch at once and store the powder in the freezer.  It is great mixed into oatmeal, barley, and pancake batter, and can even be used as a condiment.  Since nuts and seeds are difficult for young children to chew thoroughly, they get more nutrients from eating them ground.  All nuts and seeds contain good amounts of important minerals, so they are worth adding to your diet.

This week, we are trying out a new raw food: green smoothies made from fruits, vegetables, and spirulina.  I bought Green Goodness by Bolthouse featured in a new Bolthouse display in the produce section at our local supermarket.  My girls like it in small quantities, so we dilute it with water.  They especially like the deep green color.  According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, “Spirulina is a type of blue-green algae that is rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids… B complex vitamins, beta-carotene, vitamin E, manganese, zinc, copper, iron, selenium, and gamma linolenic acid (an essential fatty acid).”   What’s not to like about that, especially since the smoothie also has lots of other nutrients from the vegetables and fruits?

The sesame Noodle recipe is below.  This uses tahini, a paste made from raw sesame seeds, which are high in omega-3 fats, B vitamins, calcium, phosphorus, copper, zinc, and magnesium.  You can find it on the international foods aisle of your local supermarket.  Keep tahini refrigerated after you open it.


          By Rachael Ray (with some slight adaptations)

¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil or olive oil
2 pinches cayenne pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced or grated
1 inch of ginger root, grated or 2 pinches ground ginger
1 pound of angel hair pasta or spaghetti, cooked al dente
3 scallions sliced thinly (optional)
1 grated carrot or some matchstick cut carrots (optional)
toasted sesame seeds and red pepper flakes to garnish (optional)

Combine soy sauce, tahini, oil, cayenne pepper, garlic, and ginger in a bowl and whisk until smooth.  When pasta is cooked al dente (slightly firm to the bite), drain it.  You can add it to the dressing now or rinse it in cool water first.  Combine the noodles and dressing until they are evenly coated.  Add the optional veggies and garnishes.  Great as a side dish for poultry or as a light main course.  Note: I usually make a third of this recipe (estimating amounts) using a five ounce box of vermicelli; even this is more than enough for four of us.

The Food Pharmacy  by Jean Carper
Super Foods Rx by Steven Pratt, M.D.
Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron

Ann Kroeker hosts a weekly Food on Fridays Link up, so I have connected there, where you will find many links somehow (either casually or directly) related to food and recipes.

Sarah at Nature’s Nurture hosts a weekly Tiny Tip Tuesday Link up for posts “pertaining to anything natural, frugal, sustainable, or homemade.”  I have linked my post and found some great tips over there.


  1. What a lovely post with some great tips, Elisa! And thanks so much for sharing that sesame noodles recipe! I always have tahini on hand and the recipe looks so yummy, I think that's going on the menu plan for this week :)

    Thanks for linking this up at Tiny Tip Tuesday! Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

  2. I hope your family enjoys the Sesame Noodles, Sarah.


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