Raw salads have many excellent qualities that make them a healthy addition to daily eating. The can be an excellent source of healthy bacteria, rich in vitamins, strong in living energy, appetizingly colourful, engaging in an enticing array of textures, delicious, and a fun way to be creative.
To make your salad, bring together a range of vegetables that appeal to you, and cut into bite sized pieces or smaller. In addition consider fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, fresh herbs, sea vegetables and any other natural foods, along with various natural salad dressings.
Raw salads tend to be highly alkaline forming and very low in the GI making them ideal for improving our imune system and losing weight.
In the BBC documentary The Truth About Food, tests showed that eating raw salads produced many more healthy bacteria than any probiotics. Spores in the air settle on green leaves and multiply, generating a wealth of healthy bacteria for our intestines.
To enjoy these benefits we need to keep the salads at room temperature and exposed to the air for an hour or two without dressing, to give the bacteria time to reproduce at a suitable temperature.
Raw salads are a great source of fragile vitamins, like vitamin C., which can be otherwise lost through cooking.
In terms of chi, raw salads can be generally classified as yin and cooling. They are associated with the five elements water and wood. This implies raw salads are best used during the summer or when the weather is hot.
RAW LIVING FOODS
Being raw, salads are alive with living energy. This makes them a powerful source of chi. The straight from the field to our intestines, means they bring fresh, pure nutrients to our bodies.
It is easy to create a very colourful, enticing dish from raw vegetables. Green, red, yellow, white and orange are common colours that are readily available. Colour helps increase our appetite, enjoyment of the meal and feeling of being creative in the kitchen.
Salads can be crunchy, soft, slimy, chewy and crispy, when using nuts, seeds, olives, dried fruit, sea vegetables, croutons and fresh fruit. This makes them interesting to chew and helps us engage with each mouthful.
It is easy to include sweet, bitter, sour and salty tastes into a salad. This helps make a salad a complete and satisfying addition to a meal or be a complete light meal.
We can make our salads visually attractive by cutting vegetables into interesting shapes. Experiment with slices, diced, stars, matchsticks, grated, chunks and slivers.
To increase nutritional diversity, we can add a wide range of ingredients to our salads. These might include vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, sea vegetables, fresh herbs, olives, capers, pickles, sauerkraut, sea salt, oils, vinegars, lemon, grated ginger, and any other suitable natural foods.
We can enjoy creating dressings for each salad. Here are some I enjoy.
Olive oil and ume vinegar mixed 50/50.
Shoyu and brown rice vinegar mixed 50/50.
Olive oil, lemon and grated ginger mixed 40/30/30.
Tahini. Choose a light creamy variety.
Miso, tahini and sesame oil mixed 35/35/30.
Honey and lemon mixed 50/50.
COOKED AND RAW SALADS
Raw salads can be mixed with cooked ingredients such as steamed vegetables, blanched vegetables, fried tofu, couscous or quinoa.
Salads present a great opportunity to be free, creative, experimental, flamboyant and expressive. We can have a lot of fun playing with different combinations and enjoy the experience of eating them as well as feeling their influence on our bodies, minds and emotions.
Part of the appeal of salads is that we can make them highly colourful, with a sea of different shapes and textures. This can create a rich visual delight, stimulating our appetite and enjoyment of the meal.
Raw foods require more energy to digest and we may absorb less energy from them. According to research by the BBC we may get 50% less energy from raw foods. We allegedly use more energy digest celery than we absorb from it. This make raw salads a useful part of any weight loss program. We can feel full and satisfied, even though we are absorbing less calories.
Cooking kills most unhealthy bacteria in plant based foods, making them generally safe to eat. Raw foods are generally alive with bacteria. Some of this will be healthy bacteria and some will exercise and strengthen our immune systems.
At the same time it is more important to avoid exposure to particularly harmful bacteria through salads, so be sure to wash hands, chopping boards, knives and ingredients.
If you want to increase the healthy bacteria, leave the vegetables exposed to room temperature air after washing. This will be similar to eating fermented foods.
Simon can help you with macrobiotic cooking classes so you can learn new skills and ways to create your own macrobiotic diet.
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