A Raw Diet Kitchen Essentials

In order to do a good job with anything, it helps to have the right equipment. The better the equipment, the more versatile and efficient you may become. 'Better' and even 'best' does not necessarily mean most expensive.


Take vegetable juicers for example. Without really checking, I'm sure there are many juicers for under $100 and I'm assuming, under $50. While these are adequate to get the job done, i.e., having fresh juice regularly, my understanding is that if you use them on a daily basis, they will not last. Taken from a different perspective, you may not want to invest more money in something you'll just put away in a cupboard. Yet, if the juicer you choose can't juice the fruits or vegetables you want, and is difficult to clean or takes much time, you won't want to use it. There is also a juicer that costs about $2200. It uses a 2-step process and the juice doesn't seem to be any better than a mid-priced juicer. What to do?

First of all, ask around. Maybe you have a friend who has a juicer they aren't using and would be willing to lend it to you so that you can at least have an idea of its capabilities; ease to clean, whether you will use it every day and what you would like it to be able to do. Do some web research to see what other may have said about a specific juicer.

Juicers

It is my understanding that juicers with less than 450 watt motors were not built for daily juicing. The motors become overstrained and burn out within 6 months, right after the warranty runs out. If you have or have not had this problem, please email me at fitnessheaven.com and let me know your experience.

Here is a list of some of the more higher quality juicers that I've heard of, I'm personally familiar with or someone I know has experimented with, with the least expensive (depending on distributor) first:

Dehydrators

Excalibur -- The only dehydrator I recommend is the Excalibur 9-tray. The fan is on the side (horizontal), which makes for an even air flow throughout. You can get fewer trays, but to save time and energy, I like to dehydrate as much as possible at the same time. When fruit and vegetables are in season, you might want to do tomatoes, apples and bananas or any combination. I have a $20 apple peeler/corer/slicer and can whip out a bunch of apples in a very short time. As you become more efficient with raw foods, you may want to dehydrate cookies, crackers, fruit roll-ups, and sprouted seeds and nuts at the same time. The Excalibur also has 4 and 5 tray units available. Price range, about $200 for the 9-tray. Most other dehydrators have fans at the bottom, so one would need to constantly rotate the trays to get even drying.

Many people first getting into raw or lightly fired foods use the heat from the pilot light in the gas range or a VERY low setting on an electric one. If you are in a warm climate, sun is a good dehydrator. Be sure to cover your food with cheesecloth to protect from insects and pollutants.

Blenders

Vita-mix. What else to say? I don't know anyone who has one, is into healthy eating, and who doesn't like the Vita-mix. It's fast and efficient. As easy to clean as any other blender. (BTW, the Vita-mix is not a juicer; it does not separate the pulp from the juice.) Price range, about $400.

Food Processors

This I cannot compare as I've only used a Cuisinart 11-C. I often find this is not sufficient for my needs and have to cut my batches in half. I noticed Cuisinart now has a larger processor available. I like the multiple blades. I make a raw salad and chop up most everything I need very quickly. I also have the mini which is great for herbs and small quantities of seeds and nuts.

A food processor is probably the most versatile thing to have in a whole foods kitchen. A lot of raw food books suggest using the Champion of Green Power/Life juicers. I've found a food processor will often do the job and easier to clean.

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