Back to Cooking, Sort of.

Before leaving for Europe I got hooked on eating raw, vegan meals. During the time around the bar exam this included mostly smoothies and simple salads with seeds, nuts, and seasonal vegetables, and raw hummus and nut butter. It was a meal plan inspired by a nutrition program I took part in at the Eat! center in Belmont [thanks to a LivingSocial deal]. The plan began as a “cleanse” of sorts, where you eliminated gluten, dairy, meat, fermented foods, and “nightshade” vegetables as well as foods higher in toxins [like peanuts] from your diet. Slowly, over 28 days, we added back and toyed with ingredients to find what our bodies responded to. Over the course of a month, I discovered I feel best on a raw, gluten-free, vegan diet. My performance at CrossFit increased exponentially. I was faster and stronger, even in that short period of time. I also tackled long days of studying without crashing or going on a second coffee run. It was pretty awesome how closely I was able to track my reactions to different food groups. Like artificial sweetener, which I’m pretty sure I had withdrawal from. Not a very good sign.

I resolved to continue with my [mostly] raw, GF, vegan lifestyle after the honeymoon [obviously I wasn’t going to give up the french baguette or moules frites or cheese in Europe] and spent the last few days working on different meals. If it’s not raw, I’m trying to incorporate a lot of “detoxifying” ingredients to keep myself feeling best, or just generally ensure it’s a whole food. Hopefully it’s a groove I can maintain during work. Obviously, I’d never turn down a dinner out because I “only eat raw and gluten free.” I’m fortunate to not have any food allergies [to my knowledge]* and do enjoy the occasional glutinous boozy beverage [see also: the Brooklyn Pumpkin I had at Black Sheep this weekend with some amazing friends. I can’t get enough pumpkin beer], and can never fully give that up. But nutrition and health is about what you do most days, not your one “off” day. So there’s that.

So far, it’s going well. Smoothies make an almost daily appearance. Finely blending fruits and vegetables makes it easier for your body to absorb nutrients, and I enjoy messing with ingredients [PUMPKIN PUMPKIN PUMPKIN KALE KALE KALE]. I haven’t missed oatmeal, but we’ll see how that goes when it gets cold. Luckily, I found [and tested] this “Paleo Oatmeal” recipe from Carrots n’ Cake that [although not vegan or raw] is free of gluten. It’s really cool – almost a bread pudding texture. I added pumpkin and raw almond butter and oh my god. It’s in my breakfast [or dinner] arsenal.

I’ve been hooked on this raw recipe for lunch that I mentioned in my last post: Raw Zucchini Noodles with Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto from Girl Cooks World. Her entire blog is gluten free, so it makes choosing recipes so much easier. What’s more, she has a “Cleanse & Detox” section thats full of good, clean recipes. Last night for dinner I put together her Roasted Cauliflower with Spicy Tomato Sauce [obviously not raw], except I used the veggies in the fridge that were nearing their end instead of cauliflower. That tomato sauce is killer. We might start making it in large batches and keeping it in the fridge. To eat with a large spoon. Or my hands.

But I’m most excited about eating raw now that we have the raw food machine to end all machines: the dehydrator. Foods that are dehydrated but left in their uncooked state retain almost 100% of the nutrients and enzymes, just with less moisture so you can shape them, mix them, and store them for longer than they would normally keep.To be more precise, a dehydrator is a “raw oven” of sorts that “gently evaporates moisture from food using a warm air current that surrounds the food but doesn’t cook it, thus preserving the food’s enzymes.”** You name it, you can make it in a dehydrator: raw crackers, cookies, bars, jerkys, dried fruits, seeds, nuts. It’s an incredible machine.

I’ve been having a blast with it thanks to a phenomenal blog called Rawmazing, where Susan created a ton of insanely drool-worthy raw recipes as part of her journey away from the “SAD” [or Standard American Diet, or what’s causing most of our modern-day ailments]. Seriously, they all looked so good I couldn’t figure out where to start. Her blog is worth exploring just for the photos! It’s so interesting. I decided I’d attempt mushroom burgers, raw style. Its a perfect recipe for busybodies because it makes 9 burgers: some for now, some to freeze for later, hurried meals.

I followed Susan’s recipe exactly, using ground flax rather than oats to avoid trace gluten/having to go to the store.

from this.

to this, which tasted SO GOOD.

to these!

After I accidentally broke one [they’re very delicate, noted], I got down to eating. Topped with Susan’s raw eggplant bacon and a side of her zucchini “fries,” this is the coolest meal. The flavor in dehydrated foods is so concentrated and the texture is really unique. Obviously it’s not going to have the texture of beef, but these burgers are just a tad moist and so rich in flavor. I’d pick these over a store-bought burger any day, especially because there’s nothing funky in them at all. I think on the next try, I’ll keep them in the dehydrator just a tad longer to avoid breakage. And I’ll make her cashew cheese to go on top…

I’m enjoying this new style of “cooking.” It’s sort of like a crock pot, where you throw everything in and leave it…except raw. And amazing. Raw…mazing?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to start working. I can’t say what’s in store for over the next few months, but hopefully I’ll find a few moments to keep up and keep in touch. Wish me luck!


** From Stephanie Tourles’ Raw Energy book, p. 82-83. Great book, by the way!

That’s one thing Shaun got me hooked on: how do you ever really know definitively you don’t have allergies to anything? The right answer when the doctor asks, “Are you allergic to any medication?” is, “Not that I’m aware of.” Unless, of course, you’ve tried every drug in the world.

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Categories: Food, Recipes


Courtney grew up in Reading, PA, and has lived in New York City (where she earned a bachelor's degree at NYU), Prague, Philadelphia, and Charlottesville (where she received a J.D. from UVa Law). Courtney and her new husband will settle in Philadelphia following a six-week Euro-trip extravaganza in September of 2012. Courtney's interests include music, writing, criticism, fitness, travel, cooking, and sports. Please enjoy the blog. LinkedIn: Tumblr:


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2 Comments on “Back to Cooking, Sort of.”

  1. October 4, 2012 at 10:29 am #

    Nooo don’t start work, I’m loving this posting every day thing. Also, you should go to that cooking school place called whatever degrees (its like the raw maximum degrees, called that.) I want to call it 98* but I have a feeling that is from something else… oh wait…

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