Raw food diets have always mesmerized me… I don’t know why, but I guess I didn’t understand the concept. Maybe it’s because I like the smell of food cooking. Anyway, I was thinking how I was going to get my husband on board with a “raw food night” at least once a week. He’s a carnivore and if I were to serve him just a big salad for dinner, he’d be thinking,”Where’s the beef?” Then I remembered that years ago Chili’s had a veggie taco on their menu. This Raw Food Wrap is a spin-off on their veggie taco. Their version had lettuce, kidney beans, pico de gallo, mushrooms and cheese. I took the basic concept and enriched it with additional ingredients and flavors.
WHY RAW FOOD?
Shout Out for Sprouts
Raw food enthusiasts will love this recipe due to its combination of textures, spices and seasonings. Raw foods have been the mainstay of diets since the beginning of time and before the discovery of fire. Some foods, in their natural state, provide more nutrients and enzymes than their cooked counterparts, and sprouts fall into this category.
Over 5,000 years ago, ancient Chinese physicians were believed to have prescribed sprouts for curing many diseases. There are various types of sprouts: soybean, mung, mustard, alfalfa, sunflower, radish, lentil and broccoli. Raw sprouts provide a host of nutritional benefits, but the primary nutritional advantage is the sprouts’ contribution of enzymes.
The digestive system is a powerful indicator of our state of wellness, thus the phrase, “gut feeling”. It requires a balance of proteins, carbohydrates and lipids in order to function in an efficient manner. As we age, the digestive system gets “sluggish” and slows down. This is due to the body’s slowed production of enzymes.
Enzymes are proteins that act as a catalyst with vitamins and minerals to create a homeostatic metabolic environment. They energize biological functions and assist in the breakdown of foods. When we are young, our bodies produce a great deal of enzymes, but as we age, this enzymatic production slows almost to a complete halt. One of the first signs of a slowing production of enzymes is in the “gut”. A healthy gut flora can be partially achieved by ingesting probiotics, but enzymes are necessary to propel these good bacteria to act at full momentum.
Omega’s in Sprouts
Raw sprouts provide chlorophyll which detoxifies and cleanses the body, resulting in oxidation of the blood. This helps to fight and reverse protein deficient anemia and some skin disorders. Sprouts also supply fatty acids, Omega-3 and Omega-6. These fatty acids cannot be produced by the body, so it is essential that these beneficial fats be incorporated into the diet. Most think of fish as the first call to action for supplying the body with Omega’s, but sprouts are another excellent source.
One cup of raw sprouts provides about 13% of the daily recommended value of vitamin K, 5% of vitamin C, and 3% of folate. Additionally, there are only 10 calories, 1.3 g of carbohydrates and .8g of fiber.
How Selection and Preparation
When purchasing sprouts, check the date and location of growth of sprouts. Because sprouts grow in warmer environments, they are highly susceptible to disease. Also, sprouts are fully developed within the first 4 – 5 days of harvest; the fresher the better. It is preferable to choose sprouts from a local, reliable source because the length of transport impacts the freshness of the sprout. Some sprout producers are now offering spicy versions of broccoli and alfalfa sprouts, so if you need a little spice, look for these varieties. Sprouts should be green, vibrant and erect in the package. Check the bottom of the package to ensure there is no liquid residue; the drier the sprout is also indicative of their freshness.
The ingredients in this recipe provide a balance of protein, carbohydrates and lipids, as well as the enzymatic punch from the sprouts. The kidney and garbanzo beans provide fiber and protein, the avocado (which in itself is a complete food) offers healthy oils, and the hint of radish offers anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties which also contribute to a healthy “gut”.
Raw Food Wrap
- 1 carton alfalfa sprouts
- 1 flatbread low-carb
- 1/2 cup garbanzo beans drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup red kidney beans drained and rinsed
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds raw or roasted/salted
- 1/4 cup pico de gallo
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- 3 radish finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- goat cheese optional
- In a food processor, puree 1/2 avocado, cilantro and oil; salt and pepper to taste (if a thinner sauce is preferred, add more oil)
- Rinse and drain beans
- Cut one half of avocado into bite sized pieces
- Layer flatbread with sauce, sprouts, beans, seeds, pico, radish, avocado and cheese (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Roll into log shape and cut in half or thirds
- Organic and/or non GMO foods are recommended
- Additional items to consider: mushrooms, carrots, bell peppers