Kitchen Appliances to Suit Your New “Raw Vegan” Lifestyle
July 12, 2011 by Lauren Talbot
What if I told you I was going to run a marathon. While some of you may say, “That’s great! Congrats! When? Where? With Whom?”… a great deal of ya’ll might be wondering... “why?”
That is certainly what I wonder when people tell me they are going Raw Vegan. That’s awesome! but…Why? What inspired you?
Why do you want to go Raw Vegan?
The decision to run a marathon could be fueled by a number of factors, including but not limited to:
- A desire to become healthier,
- To get in better shape, or lose weight
- To create structure and work towards a goal
- As motivation to overcome something (addiction, stress…), or to start something (a new diet, a new job…)
- To empower
- You love running
- Because it has been a life long dream, etc.
After you make this decision, you are probably wondering what needs to happen to make your training a success… Do you need new running shoes? A trainer? A gym membership? A dietician? New running gear? The latest and greatest technology? An Ipod? Truthfully, you could compile quite a list of all the things you should get, could get, or would get (given a bottomless bank account and all the time in the world).
What’s my point? I promise I have one.
When I am asked…. “I am going Raw Vegan, Do I really need a _______?”
What I really want to ask is Why? Why are you going “Vegan and Raw?” and what was your diet like before this decision?
- Is it for weight loss?
- Health benefits?
- For Animal Rights?
- Because it looks and sounds cool?
- You feel less guilty indulging? You want to eat in abundance.
- You want to detox?
- You want to clear your skin? Fight aging…
- You feel better? Or want to feel better? Gain Energy?
- You love to cook and you just bought a really fabulous recipe book? It inspired you!
These reasons are all very relevant and important for me to understand. The ones I am most qualified to respond to however, are the reasons regarding health, weight, and detox (which I do not believe in- in the same way it is marketed today).
Health, Weight Loss, and Detoxes
It is of my utmost belief that there is nothing more beneficial than enjoying freshly pressed fruit and vegetable juices. As I have mentioned countless times before, juice literally infuses the body with raw vitamins, minerals and enzymes. It provides energy, can be quite “detoxing,” and it ultimately replenishes the cells, protecting them from degeneration. It is a great way to start the morning, and can greatly help to shed excess weight, “detox,” gain energy, clear skin, etc., should any of those be a goal.
B L E N D E R S
Juicers create juice, a fiberless fluid, or “liquid” beverage. Juicers work by extracting the nutrient rich “juice” from the plant and expelling the fibrous solids. These plant fibers are indigestible and so when they are removed in the juicing process, the stomach does not need to “work” to digest them–They no longer exist. That being said, fiber is a necessity. Fiber acts as a broom, helping to “sweep” and cleanse the intestines and colon of unwanted waste and debris.
While blenders are not juicers, they are very high on my must-have list.
(FYI: Blenders make carrot mush, juicers make carrot juice).
Why do you want a blender? Blenders can whip up some fabulous salad dressings, marinades, soups, sauces, ice creams, puddings, dips, smoothies, etc. Blenders can also nourish the body but they do not provide the same “immediate” nourishment as the Juicer.
In my opinion, you cannot really compare one to the other. It would be like comparing apples to oranges. Both have their benefits but they are not one in the same.
Unless you can effortlessly afford a pricey Vitamix, you need not stress about getting one of “the best of the best” blenders. The Ninja, or Magic Bullet will work just fine for many recipes and they are both about 1/10th of the cost.
Additionally, The Bullet and Ninja are both strong little blenders. They are the perfect size for making smaller batches of dressings, and the like. Quite frankly the Bullet is perfect for daily use and when you don’t need a full weeks worth of the same dressing. I also enjoy the fact that these smaller machines are quite easy to clean. Clean-up is a tremendous factor when preparing fresh meals.
The importance of a blender is significant and quite simple: Make delicious and enjoyable recipes that are fun, fresh, nourishing and satisfying. The last thing you want is to be bored with any “diet,” feeling deprived, or constantly craving your less healthier staples. My fiance went to the Culinary Institute of Manhattan where “butter and bacon” make everything better. That’s not your mantra.
A blender will help you whip up some fantastic staples that won’t leave you whimpering for that low fat, processed dressing you can pull from the pantry.
If you can, get the Vitamix… but I have been making do without one for years.
Other important kitchen tools…
- Knives. You need some great knives. Cutco makes some fantastic knives, but hitting up any TJMax, Marshalls, or Homegoods will get you started (with some non-stick pairing knives). If you are going to splurge on one knife I would get a great Cleaver (obviously not for meat, but wonderful on young Thai coconuts, and veggie choppin’) or the Vegetable Knife.
- Cutting board– yes, please! Multiple.
- A perforated vegetable peeler for creating “noodles.” I like these because they are much cheaper and less bulky than a spiralizer, mandolin, or julienning utensils. If you have space, the spiralizer is pretty fun.
Now we get onto those other “tools”…
These are tools I consider to be just “Fun” Extras.
- Dehydrator. If you’ve got time in the kitchen to experiment with recipes, and then more time to “cook,” I say play around with it. Down sides: Length of time until product is finished. Dehydrated foods are not exactly the easiest foods to digest because they are generally dense (made with nuts and flax) and lacking water. Dehydrators (the authentic kind) are not exactly cheap and take up a lot of counter space. The upside: These foods can be wonderfully fun substitutes for traditional crackers and chips. Eaten in moderation, digestion should not be an overwhelming concern. In my opinion though, unless you have the time, and are fascinated by dehydrated goodies, get them from the pros.
- The Food Processor. In my opinion, you can accomplish a lot with the Ninja, and the Bullet. If you are determined to experiment with a dehydrator, or create a lot of raw and nutty desserts, then a Food Processor may be beneficial.
- Nut Milk Bag- you can live without. If you want to make raw nut and seed milks on occasion, I’d go with a Cheese Cloth.
- Sprouter- you can live without.
Raw gone “wrong.” Don’t get carried away and purchase a kitchen full of “raw” kitchen aids. It can be really easy to get overwhelmed. Start small. If health is the name of your game, try to avoid a diet overly rich in raw desserts, dense seeds and nuts. A raw diet is grand because of the percentage of raw vegetable and greens. A raw cashew creme cake is an exquisite treat, as are raw coconut macaroons. That being said, they are still dessert (healthier, though they may be).
Note: I am not going to run a marathon, though if I did, it would be so that I could get in spectacular shape and put only the healthiest of things into my body (which is how I feel best, regardless). I am also not 100% Raw. I love my juice (lots and lots of it), and raw ensaladas, but I also really enjoy steamed veggies (my favs– broccoli and artichoke), vegetable oils (specifically olive, and coconut butter), olives, and the occasional roasted veggies (especially when dining out). I have been known to love blue corn tortilla chips, wine and dark chocolate. Because I never “restrict” myself, and I thoroughly have developed a taste for my lifestyle, I truthfully do not miss a thing. (And if I do “miss” something… I try to recreate “the mood” of the food in my own creations– or I purchase it from someone who can. I am no baker.)
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- What are your thoughts on “going” Raw, Vegan? If you are either, what were your reasons? Are there any kitchen utensils you would add to the mix, or any comments about the ones above? Maybe your a dehydrator aficionado– any suggestions for beginners?