Sunday, 4 December 2011


This week I am having a drastic change of diet, from one centred on cooked food (or at least foods which have had some heating as part of its preparation), to a very different diet of purely raw food.
My usual diet is not conventional as such, but despite my best endeavours to eat local, organic and seasonal food as much as possible, it must be fairly representative of how much heated food is eaten in most modern day societies.
Starting tomorrow, nothing which has been heated in excess of 40C during any part of its production, manufacture or preparation will enter my body for a week.
No pasteurised milk on my cereal in the morning, no mid-morning cake, no coffee (or the sugar in it), no bread, pasta, rice, polenta or barley for supper. No pasteurised cheese afterwards. No beer in the evening. And of course, no cooked meat, fish, fruit or vegetables.
So how will I eat? I think I’ll be eating very well indeed!
I may have some sliced pears with mixed seeds for breakfast.
I could make a light mayonnaise with a squeeze of lemon and a scrap of aromatic zest, and mix into grated Celeriac with a scattering of tiny capers for lunch.
A salad of shaved fennel, very thinly sliced shallots, segments of clementine carefully trimmed of pith, with a few spoons of trout caviar (I have a little pot of this in the fridge from a local trout farm in the Cotswolds) would do very well for supper.
I hope that by putting very tight constraints on what I eat and how I prepare it, I will be discovering exciting flavours, textures and combinations in what would usually be a time of year when I’d be eating thick, rich, heavy meals - braised meats, roast game, thick broths, creamy pastas and mounds of fluffy mashed roots.
I hope to be eating vegetables in their crispest, sweetest, most pure and vibrant forms, dressed with soft herbs, virgin oils, and lemon, and meat and fish cured with salt into aromatic prosciuttos and jamóns, and fermented into salamis, as well as simply sliced into tender carpaccio, chopped as a delicate tartar and pickled as lively Ceviche.
When heated, most foods (especially vegetables) are known to be considerably lower in heat-sensitive phytonutrients and vitamins, antioxidants, and important digestive enzymes (namely lipases, proteases and amylases), so my raw food diet should not only give me a fresh approach to food and eating, but leave me glowing with health!
I will of course miss my early morning coffee, the deeply savoury, and salty, unami hit of charred meat, the chewy, sour tang of handcrafted bread, and the smoky, pungency of toasting Asian spices, I revel in the idea of my new striped back diet of uncooked, unadulterated ingredients.        

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