Question Mark – Ask the Natural Chef – Raw Foods

October 28, 2008 at 5:47 pm Leave a comment

Chef Mark Reinfeld
Author, Vegan Fusion World Cuisine & The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Raw

Raw Foods Interview
by Dr. Devin Ryerson of Pure Prescriptions

DR: Mark, eating raw foods seems to becoming more popular than ever. Can you tell us a little about your upcoming book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Raw?
Mark: Sure, Our book, The Complete Idiots Guide to Eating Raw is due out in July and will be published by Penguin Books as part of the popular Idiot’s Guide series. It was written by me and Vegan Fusion coauthor Bo Rinaldi to be a comprehensive, “everything you need to know” book about raw foods. A majority of the incredible recipes were developed by Blossoming Lotus Chef Jennifer Murray.

We are fortunate to have a foreword written by Gabriel Cousens, a true pioneer in the Raw Foods movement. It is endorsed by Woody Harrelson and has contributions from many other raw food luminaries such as David Wolfe, Dr. Brian Clement and Angela Stokes to name a few.

DR: What exactly are raw foods?

Mark: Raw foods are foods that have not been cooked. They are the fresh fruits, berries, vegetables, nuts, seeds and herbs we have all come to know and love in their whole, natural state.

Once raw food is heated above a certain temperature, the food is considered to be cooked. Many define this point as the temperature where the particular food’s enzymes are destroyed.

Enzymes are the catalysts of life and that all foods come with naturally occurring enzymes. At around 100°F they are beginning to get a bit sluggish and by 118° F they are pretty much toast. Most raw foodists consider 116° to be the maximum threshold for enzyme potential.

Raw foods are loaded with enzymes and all of the vital nutrients our bodies need to flourish. Raw foods also have a high water content compared to cooked foods. The water found in fresh foods is in many ways superior to drinking water.

Raw foods abound with phytonutrients. These are the important vitamins, minerals and other nutrients found in plants that are known and still being discovered by science that are necessary for life to thrive. Eating raw means you are getting the highest concentration of phytonutrients emanating from the plant kingdom.

DR: Many times you will hear the word live foods or living foods used to describe a raw food diet. Is there a difference?

Mark: For many, the words are used interchangeably. For those ‘in the know’, there is an important difference. Raw foods consist of foods in their natural, unheated state.

Live foods can even contain greater amounts of vital nutrients and enzyme activity created through soaking, sprouting, blending and culturing. Culturing allows us to create specialty dishes and drinks such as sauerkraut, plant cheeses, yogurts and kombucha.

DR: Are raw foods good for weight loss?

Mark: It’s an open secret in the health world that eating raw has a built in weight reduction mechanism. Raw foods have higher water content, fiber and nutritional values than their cooked counterparts.

Going raw also keeps you away from two of the main weight gain culprits – refined sugars and flours. Whatever the reason, we think the raw food diet is the best way to lose weight because it’s simply so satisfying!

The higher water content of raw foods encourages weight loss. When food is cooked, it loses its moisture and becomes denser. Raw foods, loaded with water, fill you up sooner. You wind up eating less because you are filling up on low calorie, nutrient rich foods. You may find yourself eating more frequent, lighter meals.

The water in raw foods is the water of life that is designed to sustain our bodies. Going raw naturally creates a light cleansing effect that purifies and assists our body in weight loss.

DR: Any other thoughts to share?

Mark: We believe eating raw foods paves the way towards optimal health and the prevention of disease because the plants are in their most bio-available state. The World Health Organization estimates that a low intake of fruits and vegetables is the cause of major diseases such as heart disease, cancer and stroke. Major national health organizations such as the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association recommend including fruits and vegetables to prevent illnesses. What better way to meet these needs than with delicious raw foods?

Once a small movement, eating raw is now recognized as a delicious healthy main stream lifestyle with access to all of the ingredients, tools, foods, recipes and great books available today.

DR: How about a sneak preview of a recipe from the book?
Mark: Here you go. Recipe courtesy of Jennifer Murray.

Chocolate Orange Pudding

Sure to please the whole family, this pudding actually resembles an elegant mousse.

Yield: 3 cups
Prep time: 15 minutes
Chill time: 1+ hours
Serving size: [1/3] cup
2 cups avocado, mashed
6 TB. raw cacao powder
2 TB. raw carob powder
2 tsp. orange zest
4 dates, soaked
[1/4] cup date soak water
[1/4] cup agave nectar
3 TB. freshly squeezed orange juice

1. In the food processor with the s-blade attachment, blend avocado, cacao powder, carob powder, orange zest, dates, date soak water, agave and orange juice on high speed for 40 seconds until a smooth consistency is reached.

2. Enjoy right away or store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.


Substitute [1/2] teaspoon of mint extract for orange zest.
Try adding 2 tablespoons of rose water.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mark Reinfeld is the founding chef of the Blossoming Lotus Restaurants and a recipient of a 2006 Platinum carrot award given by the Aspen Center of Integral Health to ‘Americas Top Healthy Gourmet Chefs’. He is a recognized authority in the field of healthy cuisine. Mark is the coauthor of Vegan World Fusion Cuisine, winner of 9 national awards. His latest book, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Eating Raw coauthored with Jennifer Murray and Bo Rinaldi is available through booksellers everywhere. Please visit for more information.

None of the above is intended as medical advice. Since every individual’s health condition and circumstance are unique, we recommend seeking the services of a qualified health care professional before using any of this information for medical purposes.

Entry filed under: Complete Idiot's Guide to Eating Raw, Question Mark - Ask the Natural Chef. Tags: , , , .

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