Rachel Walker celebrates International Raw Food Day with her recipe for delicious kale chips.
I ONCE WORKED with a sprightly lady in her sixties who I believe ate a 100 percent raw diet. Every morning on my way to our workplace, I’d drive past her power-walking, overtaking the early morning city workers, leaving them in her dust.
During work hours, she stayed the same. She was easily outdoing the energy levels of any of the staff a third of her age. I thought she was fairly crazy at the time, but yet here I am now with the recent urge to pin mouth-watering chocolate raw cheesecakes onto my Pininterest board and drooling over Auckland’s Little Bird Unbakery’ and the daily temptations they post on their Facebook page. So what gives with this newfound curiosity?
Without a doubt, the biggest leading driver for raw food is health. In short, science tells us that when we cook our food, we’re destroying a great deal of the goodness inside it, ridding ourselves of the nutrition and enzymes needed for breaking down food into particles small enough to be converted into beloved energy.
Raw food means anything cooked under the recommended 46 degrees, and is believed to contain a third more minerals, vitamins, and a bunch more fibre too. Aside from a very long list of other accolades, it is also gentle on the stomach, being great for digestive health. Perfect!
Does it sound too good to be true? Well, many Kiwis seem to think not. An increasing number of cafes are now beginning to offer a raw food option or two, and the waiting list for my local library’s raw food cookbooks has stopped me from stockpiling them under my bed. I needed to investigate further.
After my previous attempt at a raw lasagna with pesto left my stomach and taste-buds wanting, I decided to make my second attempt fairly straight forward. It also had to be different from the nut cheeses I normally have in my fridge, so this time I borrowed a little extra help in the form of a family friend’s dehydrator to try something brand new.
Seeing as my previous love of potato chips was left in ruins by sneaky additives and flavour enhancers of the non-vego variety, I decided to upgrade using the queen of greens to make some kale chips.
I grabbed a couple of bunches of kale from my local organic store and at $4 for 300g, it wasn’t going to break the bank anytime soon. There is also some kale seedlings freshly in our garden that should be popping up over the next few weeks, and which I’m looking forward to.
How to make delicious kale chips
1. First, wash and spin dry two bunches of kale. I found that the 300g packet was more than enough for that. Next, remove the tough spine and rip into bite sized pieces. (Bare in mind that these will shrink as they are dehydrated, as mine were a tad too big).
2. In a large bowl combine 3 T olive oil (I used Macadamia Nut Oil, a bit pricey but delicious) and 1 tsp sea salt.
3. Stir in the kale to get a good coating, and spread out on layers in the dehydrator at 46oc for 5 hours or until crisp and you’re done.
The kale chips were light & delicious; so much so that I managed to eat nearly all of them before I thought to take a final photo. The flavour combinations you can play around with are endless. Next time I’m going to try them with smoked paprika, himalayan salt, and a dusting of asafateda powder (an alternative for those intolerant to garlic) which can be found at your local Indian grocery store.
While I can’t see myself going 100 percent raw anytime soon, I do appreciate how much willpower would go into following the diet and not being persuaded otherwise. I did feel fantastic after eating the kale chips, and it’s definitely inspired me to not only attempt to try out more raw snacks and treats soon, but to also consider incorporating a few more raw goodies into my diet permanently.
Buona Appetito! RACHEL WALKER