Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Review: Raw Energy

Raw Energy: 124 Raw Food Recipes for Energy Bars, Smoothies, and Other Snacks to Supercharge Your BodyTitle: Raw Energy:  124 Raw Food Recipes for Energy Bars, Smoothies, and Other Snacks to Supercharge Your Body
Author: Stephanie Tourles
Genre: Recipe book
Publisher: Storey Publishing
Physical Description: 272-page full-color paperback
List Price: $16.95
ISBN: 978-1603424677

Raw snacks are nature’s original fast foods—delicious, easy to prepare, and bursting with the ingredients you need to stay healthy and energized on even the busiest days. Stephanie Tourles offers 125 simple recipes for mouthwatering parfaits, trail mixes, smoothies, energy bars, juice blends, soups, vegetable chips, dips, candies, cookies, and more. Made from unprocessed whole foods—such as nuts, seeds, dried and fresh fruits, vegetables, oats, carob, cocoa, and fresh juices—these snacks have fewer than 250 calories and are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and enzymes.

About the Author:
Stephanie Tourles is a licensed holistic aesthetician in both Massachusetts and Maine, with over 20 years experience. Trained in western-style herbalism, she specializes in the use of herbs as they pertain to skin, hair, nail, and foot care and regularly creates herbal cosmetics and treatments for her clients and friends. She is also a certified aromatherapist, with extensive training in the nutritional sciences, and is the author of Organic Body Care Recipes, as well as several books on natural body care. Stephanie resides in Orland, Maine with her husband and pets, and spends her spare time hiking, organic gardening, and cooking.
What Mom Liked:  This is a gorgeous book that had me totally inspired to get out and make some of this healthy energy stuff!  It gives a great overview of the benefits and different types of raw foods, and then lots of recipes.  Makes me hungry just looking through it!

I love the "snack" idea.  Most of the recipes don't have many ingredients, and since they don't involve cooking, they're perfect to make with little ones.  Some are amazingly simple, like fruit with nut butter,

One recipe that gets a thumbs-up is the Banana-Honey Granola Bars.  It's funny - Esmé helped make it and enjoyed eating it thoroughly during the making process (and she was totally welcome to taste it in process - no bad ingredients to worry about).  However, once it was frozen and cut up for the rest of us, she wasn't interested.

A few more on my list to try:  Herbal Energy Balls, Smooth Maple-Carob Zippers, Almond-Raisin Cocoa Bites, Watermelon Cooler, and Juicy Apple Muesli

What Mom Didn't Like: The main reason I'm not using this book more is that a lot of the ingredients are expensive!  To be fair, I haven't checked out all the online food resources the author mentions at the back of the book.  But locally, a smallish jar of raw almond butter costs $18+ - and I used most of that jar in just one recipe.  And I couldn't even find some of the other ingredients. 

A lot of the recipes call for raw cashews.  Now, I lived in Mozambique for a while, where cashews grow by the truckload and are fiercely marketed to tourists.  It's widely known there that raw cashews are poisonous - the cashews we got there had a nice "campfire" flavor to them.  So we researched a little, and it turns out that "raw" cashews in the US, with a few exceptions, are actually steamed, not raw.  I'm not sure what impact this has on their "raw" nutrition value.


Having gone through the book, I'm now on the lookout for cheap sources or sales of some of the main ingredients.  We recently got a barely-used dehydrator for 5 dollars so we can try more recipes.

I recommend this for people who are interested in the benefits of raw foods and would like to try them in moderation.  I will definitely be using this book over and over as I can reasonably obtain ingredients!

Thanks to Storey Publishing for the review copy of this book, and to MamaBuzz for organizing this review opportunity.