Sunday, June 30, 2013

Snacking on Raw

Raw Vegan Snack Recipes and Ideas Snack time is probably the hardest for a healthy eater. It's hard not to reach out for our favorite chips, soda, chex-mix, roasted nuts, etc. when plastic packaging is being ripped open all around you, chips ruffling, soda cans popping and bubbling, and roasted pistachios cracked open. Oh, so tempting...! A year into this lifestyle, and planning my raw vegan lunch and dinner fairly well, I still struggle with morning and afternoon snack times at work when I hear Hawaiian chips crackling in the next cube.

So how much worse are we if we eat fairly healthy breakfast and meals but lax on snacks? Well, do you really want to eat a 500 calorie snack laden with several grams of sugar, carbs, and engineered chemicals (or toxins, as I call them), when you're replacing olive oil with the healthier fat in avocado and white sugar with dates in your meals? Why would one want to go backwards with greasy and salty chips and sugary soda to compensate for the salt after a green smoothie and hearty lunch added a spring to their step?

But how about the low-calorie, low-sodium, zero-sugar snacks? They're healthy, aren't they? Think about it - how does a food item get to have lesser calories than its labelled ingredients?! Do the calories magically disappear or are the ingredients artificial? How does our body know how to breakdown these engineered foods and, possibly, even 'release energy and nutrients' out of thin air?! If you're skeptical of my claims, read for yourself - top 10 cancer foods, truth about diet soda, and the list goes on. The problem is we're not eating food anymore, we're eating food-like products!

Unfortunately, these food-like products are not only unhealthy for us, they're also an environmental hazard - if you didn't realize already! Just imagine how much waste we're adding in the form of plastic wrappers, non-recyclable lids, industrial byproducts, etc. to the already teeming landfills. Sure, soda cans are recyclable, but setting up the recycling infrastructure in itself is an industrial process, with its own environmental issues and byproducts. And how often do we care to separate recycle from trash in the first place? So much just for snacks! Thanks to the food industry for making us such slaves to them!

We need to continue springing forward, eating nutritious, natural snacks that will want us to take an evening swim, instead of throwing us on the couch after work. These shall be grown locally, transported short distance, bio-degradable, and should generate minimal artificial byproducts. Above all, these shall be delicious and addictive, and yet need minimal preparation. What would these be? Read on for some ideas.

Well, fruits are an amazing finger-food! Reach for a banana or a couple of juicy, navel oranges, a mango, slices of pineapple or watermelon (esp. during summer). Pack a bowl of some washed red and green grapes alongside cherries or other berries to work, keep it at your desk, munch all day - you'll be too full for chips and soda and gain a glowing skin in no time. As a bonus, colleagues walking by your desk will notice and grab some fruits themselves - leading by example is extremely effective! Partner with a colleague, take turns to bring different fruits to work to share and double the fun. I bet, more folks will want to join your clique =).

My fruit plate at work one afternoon.
How about something more interesting? Throw together some blueberries, pomegranate seeds, and raw cacao nibs and toss them in flax meal (recipe courtesy Ani Phyo). You'll be amazed how well the flavorless blueberries fit with crunchy, sweet-sour pomegranate seeds and chocolaty cacao nibs! Make sure you grind flax seeds fresh as flax meal goes rancid in no time.

Blueberries, pomegranate seeds, cacao nibs in flax meal
Nuts and fruits together make a delectable and filling combination. Here's a snack with apple pieces topped with cinnamon and crushed pecans. Remember, some nuts, like almonds and walnuts, are better consumed soaked to activate the enzyme inhibitors (more on this in a different post).

Apple and crushed pecans, topped with cinnamon.
Feeling queasy after a greasy lunch and want something cleansing and citrusy?

Grapefruit wedges sprinkled with cinnamon and grated ginger
Here's something even more interesting - cashew carrot pate and sunflower pate served with celery and carrot sticks. This is almost a mini-meal. Love hummus? Here is a no-bean zucchini hummus recipe.

Cookies are possible too! No white flour, no sugar or preservatives, no baking and later scrubbing the bakeware. These trail-mix cookies keep for up to three weeks in an airtight container.

Raw vegan trial mix cookies
How about energy drinks? Well, mila, a form of chia seeds, is a great source of energy. Hydrated mila, whether in plain water or coconut water or a green smoothie or almond milk makes a great energy drink.

For chips lovers, as mentioned in the last post about raw lunch and dinner, a dehydrator can make chips of a variety of veggies like carrot, kale, beets, etc. It can also make raw vegan breads, bread-sticks, fruit lather, roasted nuts, etc. Checkout a pic of onion rings in the making in that post.

If you don't have a dehydrator, head to the raw food section of Whole Foods; you'll be amazed at the variety and possibility the raw food world offers for snacks. As a word of caution, I'd limit off-the-shelf products even when they're labelled raw. That's simply because they've been mass-produced and have lived on the shelf for a while - not as good as something fresh and homemade.

I'll conclude this post with another of my all-time-favorite raw vegan snack =). I bet you'll crave coconut water right now! ;)

Meat and water from a young thai coconut


  1. well this is more a personal request that a comment on your post.
    on ur next visit to india please supply a dehydrater to me and/or similar followers.

    well do i still need to go uh and ah about ur post?what better compliment than to be inspired and attempt to follow in ur footstep.

    1. Thank you for the continued patronage, Anjali! :)

      A dehydrator is a larger, bulkier appliance, potentially cumbersome to transport long distance =/. For example, here is a 4-tray one ( and here a 9-tray one ( (I haven't gotten one myself yet because of lack of counter space in my kitchen.)

      Are you sure there isn't one available in the metro cities?