BY CAROLYN ONOFREY
As an experiment, I decided to try a raw diet for a week. Eating raw (that is, eating things like raw fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds among other things) has a steady following, so much so that there are entire stores and restaurants geared toward the raw foodist.
I stopped by some of these stores and restaurants to get an idea of what my options were as I planned my week of meals; if I was going to do this raw thing, I was going to do it right!
Probably the most well known of the raw restaurants in New York City is Pure Food & Wine. Pure Food & Wine serves gourmet raw food, presented artfully in a serene setting. A meal here will set you back around $50 per person, but if you’re serious about raw food, or just want to try a great raw meal, Pure Food & Wine is your best bet. Pure Food & Wine also has a satellite market around the corner called One Lucky Duck.
For a more budget friendly and low key raw experience, check out Quintessence located in the East Village. While the food may not be as creative or artfully masked as “raw”, Quintessence is a great go-to for the raw foodist.
While I would have loved to eat out for every meal, as eating raw requires a bit more work and preparation than a cooked diet – my budget didn’t allow the luxury and so I headed to High Vibe, a raw-vegan shop with a great selection of raw snacks and ingredients such as kale chips, “mac and cheese” bites, and unpasteurized soy sauce and cold pressed raw olive oil.
For more substantial raw eats (and my favorite stop on my raw food adventures), I went to Westerly Market where they have a wide selection of pre-made raw food items like a raw mock tuna sandwich, raw falafel, and even raw lo mein.
After my week of raw, I highly recommend a raw diet if you’re up for the challenge. While I craved the meat and dairy that I could not have, I was more energetic both waking up in the morning and at night, not feeling the need to pass out on the couch after work as well as the 3 o’clock slump that I often fall into after lunch at work where my eyes get heavy and a cup of coffee sounds heavenly. As much as I missed a hot meal my mind was crisp and clear, and the extra pounds I gained this winter seemed to melt off my mid section.
While I certainly noticed a difference in my energy levels, I also found myself feeling unsatisfied – like I was missing something. It wasn’t until my week was over and I was weaning myself off raw, eating a raw breakfast and lunch and having a cooked meal for dinner that I was both energetic and satisfied. When I’m feeling bogged down and in need of a detox, I will go raw again but until then if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that you really are what you eat and that everything truly is good in moderation, you just have to find your perfect balance.
Interested in raw? Request a complete list of raw in any city at: rawfoodrestaurantguide.com.