Stocking a raw food pantry takes some getting used to. Be sure to go slow while adding raw items to a menu each day. Don’t be afraid to try new things. This may be the beginning of changing an entire lifetime of habits that may be threatening your health.
According to The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Raw [Alpha Books; 2008], “The attraction to eating raw foods is the weight loss, improved health, and increased energy. Some want to cleanse or heal from any number of modern illnesses. Others simply want to include more fruits and vegetables in their diet.” Your reason to eat more raw foods may boil down to wanting to use what is growing in your vegetable garden.
When stocking up on nuts, make certain they are raw, not roasted. Store them in sealed containers in the refrigerator for up to three months or in a freezer for a year. Spices and dried fruits can be kept in a cool, dark cabinet for up to a year and organic coconut oil can last at room temperature for six months.
Raw Food Staples to Stock Up On
While this is not a complete list of raw food staples to store in the pantry, it is a great start in preparing to switch to a raw food diet.
- agave nectar (a natural sweetener made from the agave plant’s juice)
- almond milk (can store in pantry prior to opening), almond butter
- almonds, cashews, pecans, pine nuts, walnuts, pistachios, Brazil nuts
- Flax seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds,
- dried apricots, cherries, Medjool dates, cranberries, raisins, apples
- cacao nibs (lightly crushed bittersweet cacao beans)
- carob (tastes similar to cocoa powder, but has no caffeine)
- cashew butter (can be found at most health food stores)
- sun-dried tomatoes, olives, olive oil,
- frozen organic raspberries, blueberries, mango
- raw honey, coconut oil, vanilla extract
- cinnamon, cayenne, curry powder, ginger, nutmeg, turmeric,
- herbal tea
Appliances and Tools to Use in a Raw Kitchen
It’s good to have appliances at the ready for chopping, mincing, blending and grinding. The shortlist includes a blender, food processor, juicer, chef’s knife (7 to 10 inches long with a very sharp edge designed to chop, dice, mince and slice) and a variety of other tools most likely already available in an average kitchen.
Make a Simple Olive Tapenade
(This healthy snack will give you your daily allowance of essential fatty acids.)
- 2 cups Kalamata olives, pitted
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Put olives in blender and chop finely. Add oil slowly while blender is running until a thick paste forms. Serve immediately on crackers.
To purchase raw foods online, check out Raw Revolution. Eating a balanced raw food diet means learning to look at food as nutrition, not just something that tastes good. This is not to say that a raw diet cannot be a delicious way to eat. It is a journey of learning how to treat the body with the blessings of a rich, diverse plant life.