Make your health resolutions a little more RAW this year. Nicola Farrer, owner of Nicola’s Raw Menu, based out of the Vail Valley in Colorado, says when you eat raw food, the nutrient levels are way higher, and the food contains all the enzymes that are needed to provide your body with more energy. “Your body no longer needs to create the enzymes that are necessary to aid in digestion, so you have a surplus of energy to spend doing more of what you love,” she says.
Raw foods are never heated above 118 degrees, Nicola explains, so if you live in a cold climate for some or most of the year, you don’t have to be eating “cold food.” A veggie dish can sit in the oven on super low heat, or you can blend a soup for about two minutes to bring your temperature up to warm.
Because raw food is so nutrient rich, your body starts to feel really fulfilled with a smaller amount of food. You begin to eat when you are hungry, rather than when you think you should eat. “Raw food lifestyle doesn’t mean 100 percent raw food from now on,” says Nicola. “You can make a conscious choice to eat one raw meal a day—that could be your morning juice or smoothie; it could be a nice big bowl of salad or mixed raw veggies with a light oil and vinegar dressing.” For an evening meal, you can replace traditional gluten pasta with a veggie pasta dish. “You can either grate zucchini or use a spiralizer to create ribbons of zucchini,” she says. “If it is a habit to grab a jar of store-bought tomato sauce, then try whipping up your own—a blend of fresh tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, olive oil, and your favorite Italian herbs, fresh or dried.”
Cream of Celery Soup from Nicola’s Raw Menu
1 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup raw cashews
1/2 garlic clove
1/2 – 1 cup water
3/4 tsp salt
Blend until smooth and garnish with diced celery, diced red peppers, and a few slices of avocado.
Nicola likes to replace oatmeal or cereal with chia pudding.
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 cup water
Handful dried fruit
Handful sunflower seeds
Handful fresh fruit
Sprinkle of cinnamon
Drizzle of agave
Whisk the chia seeds into the water and let sit for about 20 minutes, whisking regularly. Add the rest of the ingredients and top off with a splash of almond milk.
Extra Tip: Nicola likes to use avocado as a spread on crackers or gluten-free breads instead of butter.
Banana Ice Cream
Banana ice cream is a go-to dessert for Nicola and her family.
Dash of cinnamon
Take frozen, peeled bananas out of the freezer and let them sit about 20 to 30 minutes. Place them in a blender and whip them up. Nicola says it’s the most creamy and sweet ice cream you can imagine. Add a little cinnamon or other sweet spice to add flavor, or even a drop of extract if you have a preferred kind. Use whatever fruits are in season to change up the variety throughout the year.
Nicola’s Raw Menu’s Bliss-a-Roons, another dessert option, will satisfy any sweet tooth. Visit her site to check them out.
She also recommends the website therawtarian.com to get more ideas on how to simplify eating raw.
“Even with a few simple, all-natural and organic ingredients, your taste buds can be satisfied,” Nicola says. “And as people are becoming more aware of how their diets affect their health, more and more products are appearing in the supermarkets to really bring ease and convenience to the process.” Visit the Nicola’s Raw Menu website for more information and raw goodies.
Kim Fuller grew up in the Colorado mountains and has always found beauty and inspiration through nature and movement. She is currently a freelance journalist and yoga teacher based in Vail. Her writing and photo work has focused on health, wellness, recreation, food, and travel since 2007, and Kim began her yoga practice in Boulder, followed by her first teacher training with Real Evolution Yoga at Peace Retreat Costa Rica in November of 2012.