Raw is better than cooked. Because raw foods look better! Kidding.
But seriously, compare a nice just-picked organically grown apple to its cooked counterpart. Brown, wrinkled, who wants to look at it for long?
Or how many artists would choose to paint a baked apple over a fresh one?
Yeah, good looks and art part might be off-topic, but there is some truth in that the face is reflection of the soul. Or to put it into food context, the look of the food is reflection of its nutritional value. Fresh spinach vs steamed, fresh eggplant vs fried, you get the idea.
On the other hand, the point of raw veganism is not so much about eating exclusively raw foods. It’s more about eating food in its most pristine state – as Nature intended – and customizing it for yourself if necessary (when that little voice of yours just won’t leave you alone).
In spring of 2012, when I decided to try to eat only raw foods, I soon realized that it’s not only challenging to stay full on raw veganism but it also takes a bit more time, and in general more hassle (especially in winter). And also, a bit more expensive. This made me look for filling and quicker foods. But, of course, at the same time I wanted them raw. Killing two birds with one stone, so to say (not that I want to do it in real life).
By the way, I tell how to stay full on raw veganism AND at the same lose flab in my eBook that is soon going to be out. Yeah, takes forever, but soon. It’s called “19 Foods to Lose the Flab on a Raw Vegan Diet + Eight Techniques to Feel Full on Less”.
When I tried whole oat groats right out of the bag it felt suspicious. Because the groats were quite soft and tasty (versus something like brown rice right out of the bag). I looked it up and that’s how I discovered that most commercial oats are not raw.
Oats need to be heated to deactivate enzymes that make mechanically de-hulled oats go rancid if left for prolonged periods at room temperature.
So, most oats you see while walking in grocery isles are not raw. The steel cut oats, rolled oats, doesn’t matter. Although all kinds of rolled oats (especially the ‘quick’ variety) do undergo more heat-processing than steel cut ones.
This is while oats are no longer an English, Sherlock Holmes-type breakfast. Randomly point at any western country on the map, and chances are, when people wake up there, the next thing they do is chew oatmeal. For the millionth time in their life. And they are not bored, they even smile.Why?
Why people who eat oatmeal every day for breakfast are not bored? Well, because they like how oats make them feel. Good taste, peace in the stomach, peace in the head; what’s more to wish from food? Now, given that oats are filling and so widespread, you may turn to them for fullness when attempting to conquer raw veganism, so that’s why I’m talking about them.
Raw alternative to regular oats
You may think that nothing can replace your lovely bowl of oats. I agree, that’s a challenging one. But something can. Their sister – naked oats! Naked oats can do the job just as well, if not better.
Naked oats are related species of oats which naturally lose their hulls in the field (hence ‘naked’). So, they don’t need to be forcefully de-hulled and thus, heated to preserve them.
If blindfolded, when eating naked oats, most likely you won’t be able to tell the difference from a regular oats. Moreover – whatever you want – steel-cut, rolled, quick naked oats are available.
To learn more about these wondrous filling things, scan this page. As well as be sure to listen to what one guy has to say about them (the audio is at the very bottom of this page).
Actually, whenever I get naked oats, I get them from the guys that I just mentioned – Adagio farms. It’s a family owned business in Manitoba. Their naked oats are certified organic and come in three different varieties – quick, rolled, and steel-cut.
However, make sure to soak or ferment your naked oats before digging your spoon into them. You want to do that to reduce the level of phytic acid (which flushes good minerals out of your body). Your and my ancestors soaked and fermented, so you are not wasting time for nothing. For easy soaking and fermentation techniques, check this post I wrote a few years back.
(Don’t get me wrong you want to soak or ferment regular oats too, and any type of grain, seed, nut, or legume).
For an easy naked oats recipe, check the one I posted on Frederic Patenaude’s website.
p.s. Raw regular oats do exist, they are just hard to find. Plus, as far as I understand, you would have to store them in the refrigerator.
2. Maple syrup
If you have or had any association with Canada in any shape or form, you heard about maple syrup.
It tastes sort of like caramel, very sweet, and makes even terrible pancakes taste decent.
I knew right away that maple syrup is not raw. That’s because I had birch sap from time to time when I was a kid.
This birch sap was a water-like, almost transparent, delicately sweet liquid. Literally, it was called ‘birch juice’.
Knowing that maple syrup is actually maple sap, I figured it should not be much different from a birch sap.
But how do you go from a sweet water-like stuff to a deeply brown, extremely sweet, much thicker stuff? Heat it!
Precisely, to turn maple sap into maple syrup, you need to boil it. It’s usually boiled at 104°C (~220°F). Boiling evaporates water and caramelizes sugar molecules. Caramelization is basically a process of burning sugar (chemically, it’s oxidation of sugar molecules – in this case – sucrose molecules).
Heating is, actually, what creates this caramel-like flavour in the first place? No heating, no maple syrup as we know it.
Also, the longer the maple sap is heated, the darker the colour of the resulting syrup, and the more intense the caramel flavour.
As a side note, what’s still a mystery to me is this. Although wild maples primarily grow only in selected eastern provinces of Canada, the maple syrup is a well-known symbol of Canada. On top of that, maple leaf even found its way onto Canadian flag (not that I’m against maples, on the opposite, I really like them, like many other deciduous trees).
Raw alternatives to maple syrup
If you are looking for something raw but at the same time very sweet to replace maple syrup with, consider date paste. Here is how to make date paste in 2 minutes.
The other options are raw coconut nectar and raw honey. To read about these two, and learn about other two, check this SWEET post from 2017.
Others ‘pseudo’ raw foods such as olives, and some others, I’ll discuss next time. So, stay tuned to make sure you know the faces of those chameleons 😉