In 1981, I visited a 300 acre organic farm in Southern Michigan which housed the Creative Health Institute. It was there that I was exposed to the early years of Live Foods as directed by the late matriarch of the movement, Ann Wigmore. The farm grew the grains which became the sprouts in the food; full of life-enhancing enzymes, it was both energizing and healing. The Creative Health Institute was, and continues to be, a remarkable healing center where life-giving practices are embraced.
Raw or live foods are rooted in traditions which date back to our human origins. Before refrigeration, fermentation and enzymatic growth in food was widespread in the cuisines of world, including Roman garum sauce, Chinese soy products, Japanese pickles, Korean kimtchie, Indian dosas, Thai fish sauces and Indonesian tempeh. Sometimes cooked, sometimes raw, these foods contributed significantly to the diets of the cultures they came from. The modern raw food diet originally drew inspiration from the proto-Christian Essenes most commonly known as the sect of John the Baptist, a desert-dwelling Judaic group who used the sun to dry their sprouted manna bread.
Raw living foods help stimulate the immune system and facilitate the flow of chi energy throughout the body. There are countless people who claim it clears the mind, balances the body and heals many illnesses.
The most common endorsement I hear is that the raw foods increases energy in daily living. Whether one embraces the diet entirely or includes a percentage of raw food, the benefits are real.
There are probably more raw-foodies per capita in Southern California than any other part of the country. No doubt the weather and year round availability of local fresh foods plays a significant roll. The sensual pleasures of the palate are plentiful with thoughtfully prepared raw cuisine. I have seen many raw food chefs to be very good with presentation and flavor.
The farmer’s markets in San Diego feature a number of live food vendors.
Here are some of them:
Macadamia-Sunflower Hummus is a versatile recipe suitable to serve with any cuisine. Serve it as a dip or use it as a spread in a sandwich or on a cracker. The Basil Leaf Rolls are just one of many dishes I have used the hummus with.
1 cup raw macadamia nuts
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
2 cups water for soaking
1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup water
Place the nuts, seeds and soaking water in a container for 2 to 8 hours. Puree all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Serve cold or room temperature.
Basil Leaf Rolls
10 large lettuce-leaf basil leaves
5 tablespoons Macadamia-Sunflower Hummus
1 San Marzano Roma tomato sliced into thin 1/4 inch wide strips
Rinse basil leaves and spin-dry in a salad spinner or pat dry with a clean cloth. Spread 1/2 tablespoon hummus evenly on each leaf. Place a tomato slice on one end of the leaf and roll it “roulade-style.” Repeat with each leaf. Slice into 1/2 inch wide rolls. Serve right away.