The Pelican – December 2012
By: Carol Romano
Pompano Pelica Dec 21 2012 Raw Foods
I have to admit I was very skeptical about the “raw food diet” that seems to be the next foodie trend. Could such a diet satisfy not only my appetite, but the sensory pleasure and variety of cooked foods?
A few of my more dedicated healthy-lifestyle buddies were beginning to delve into recipes and attend classes, so out of curiosity I agreed to meet Åsa Paul-Johansson, a certified raw food teacher and coach, at a class she gave in my condominium.
Paul-Johansson was born in Sweden but has lived in the United States for the past 34 years. Although trained as an archaeologist, she could not continue her career once the family moved to the States, so she spent most of her life as a homemaker, caring for her husband and two children.
Always interested in nutrition, she came across an article in her local newspaper which discussed the possibilities of broccoli as a preventative of cancer.
That got her thinking about converting the family to a vegetarian diet as a protective measure for the future health of her children. It also led her to the books of Ann Wigmore known as the “Grandmother of Raw Food.”
Wigmore’s books intrigued her, but she didn’t yet feel ready to go that route. Instead she slowly transitioned her family into giving up meat and dairy products.
She had never allowed processed foods into her kitchen and the switch was not a difficult one.
Said Paul-Johansson, “When my children had friends over, I offered fresh fruits or homemade ice cream. I have recipes for many treats that were loved by the children. My ice creams are dairy free.”
The family was still enjoying a vegetarian diet when Paul-Johansson began to take the next step on her quest. Six years ago she decided to eat only raw foods for a three month trial. She put away her pots and pans and invested in a dehydrator, which paired with a good food processor, was all she needed to turn out unbelievably delicious meals.
Almost at once she felt more energized. She slept less, but more restfully.
Although living in Chicago with its brutal winters, Paul-Johansson never caught a cold and had the intense feeling that her body was in harmony with her emotional and psychological well being. After three months of 100 percent raw foods, Paul-Johansson began the regime she follows today, 90 percent raw and 10 percent cooked vegetables.
What was a typical day’s menu at the Paul-Johansson house?
“Well,” she says, “I begin my day with a glass of water and lemon juice; then I either have a green vegetable or fresh fruit smoothie, or cereal. I make my cereal by soaking whole oats or buckwheat overnight in water. Then I add apple slices or dates, perhaps banana slices and a touch of honey or agave syrup.
“If I have lunch it might be a soup of sundried tomato, pine nuts, basil and a drop of olive oil. When I put it all through the blender, it becomes a creamy soup. If it’s a cold day, I might heat the mix slightly. Dinner might be a couscous of parsnips, cranberries, pine nuts, spinach seasoned with apple cider vinegar and a green salad.
“This diet is very filling and satisfying. All I know is that every morning I wake up feeling light and happy,” she said.
Paul-Johansson can even make bread and crackers without turning on an oven, and her breads last for weeks in the freezer. Now that’s a plus for Florida homemakers!
For more information contact Paul-Johansson at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.onthelime.com.
Here is one of Paul-Johansson’s favorite recipes:
Here is a rich tarte with intense flavor and yet very few ingredients. It keeps very well three to four days in the fridge, so why not make a double batch? Whipped cashew cream is just divine with the date tarte and so are fresh berries.
2 cups raisins
2 cups walnuts
Optional: 1 tablespoon cacao powder
1½ cups dates, pitted
Juice from 2 limes
Optional serving: fresh berries or kiwi and whipped cashew cream.
1. Place raisins and walnuts in food processor and chop. Run for a long time until the nuts start to release their oil and form into a ball.
2. Place on a serving plate and form to an even crust/base. Do not make it too thick, half an inch is fine.
3. Mix dates with lime juice in food processor. No need to wash the bowl in between. Add a few drops water only if it will not process the dates. Spread evenly over date crust.
4. Decorate with fresh berries and if you like serve with cashew cream.