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Book Reviews

Easy Affordable Raw by Lisa Viger

Book Review:
Easy Affordable Raw - How to Go Raw on $10 a Day
by Lisa Viger
review by Marla Rose

As someone with a multitude of health challenges, from being overweight with high cholesterol to chronic sinus and digestive problems, Lisa Viger of the popular blog Raw on $10 a Day (Or Less!) was a candidate for escalating, increasingly painful and expensive problems if she didn’t change her habits. Not even 40 when she discovered healing herself and the planet through dietary changes, Lisa was on a fast-track to an early death if she hadn’t discovered The World Peace Diet by Dr. Will Tuttle, which connected the dots for her. As someone who didn’t cook and was, in her own words, “fresh-food challenged,” she had a steep learning curve ahead of her but was so taken by the fresh, vibrant flavors and scents (she also quit smoking, which didn’t hurt), Lisa describes enjoying food in a way she hadn’t since childhood with her reawakened senses and, at 50, feels better and more youthful than ever. The fact that she could get a new lease on life while keeping her recipes easy. affordable and accessible - often a challenge with raw foods - is even more impressive. With her beautiful new cookbook published by Quarry Books, Easy, Affordable Raw: How to Go Raw on $10 a Day, anyone with a kitchen can do the same.

Starting with introductory chapters that address the “whys” and “hows” of maintaining a raw or mostly raw diet, Lisa addresses nutrition questions as well as gives practical advice on techniques, such as how to soak, dry and store nuts and seeds. With generous, enticing and colorful photographs throughout shot by the author, readers are walked through everything from making our own nut and seed milk and making nut butter with a food processor (Maple Cinnamon Almond Butter!) to drying fruits and making crackers (like Cheesy Spicy Flax Crackers), it’s easy to see how to recreate these in one’s own kitchen without too many expensive gadgets, though a food dehydrator would be necessary for some, such as the breads and crackers. Still, most recipes are simple and straightforward, and with all that money you’re saving (both on food and medical bills), hey, you can splurge on a dehydrator.

I appreciate that this cookbook features both simple recipes where the natural flavors are the focus, such as the Creamy Garlic and Greens Soup as well as recipes that are a little more time and labor intensive for when you want a more extravagant showstopper, like the gorgeous Raw Farmers’ Market Eggplant Tacos. I also appreciate that this book is easy to navigate, divided up into chapters that address everything from smoothies to chocolate, breakfast to main dishes. and that there are nutrition facts as well as recipe tips bountifully offered throughout. Last, the recipe instructions are simple and clear to follow. I also appreciate the friendly, welcoming tone: there are no scare tactics, there is no spewing of doctrine, just a focus on the enjoyment of flavorful, nutrition-packed foods.

I think Easy, Affordable Raw is an excellent cookbook for anyone who is trying to add more raw foods into their diets in affordable, appealing and accessible ways and I recommend it as a useful addition to anyone’s cookbook lineup. Thank you to Lisa Viger and Quarry Books for permission to reprint the following recipe.

Walnut Maple Pecan Cheesecake

Walnut Maple Pecan Cheesecake

Maple syrup lends a distinct and mellow sweetness to this cheesecake and compliments the walnuts and pecans.

For the Crust
3/4 cup (105 g) almonds
3/4 cup (90 g) walnuts
1 cup (180 g) dates

For the Filling
1 1/2 cups (220 g) almonds, soaked overnight and drained
1/2 cup (55 g) pecans
cup (60 ml) lemon juice
1/2 cup (60 g) date paste
1/2 cup (120 ml) maple syrup
1 cup (235 ml) water
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of salt

For the Topping
1/4 cup (25 g) chopped pecans
1/4 cup (30 g) chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons (28 ml) maple syrup

To make the crust: In a food processor fitted with an “S” blade, process all the crust ingredients until the mixture becomes crumbly and begins to stick together. Pour into a plastic wrap–lined 6-inch (15-cm) springform pan, and press into the bottom and up the sides.

To make the filling: Place all the filling ingredients into food processor fitted with an “S” blade, and process until very smooth. (This may take several minutes.) Scrape down the sides as needed.

Pour the filling into the crust and spread evenly. Place the cheesecake in the freezer for at least 3 hours to firm. Allow to thaw for several minutes before serving.

To make the topping: Stir together the chopped nuts and maple syrup. Pour on top of the cheesecake.

Store leftover cheesecake tightly wrapped in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Yield: about 8 servings

2013, 2014, Vegan Street

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