Wednesday, February 4, 2009

My Raw Foods Class Experience -Part I

Good Morning Beautifuls!

I hope all is well in your world! As promised I am posting about the raw foods class that I took on this past weekend. It was entitled “Change Your Food-Change Your Life” and encompassed strategies for experiencing long term success in eating healthier, why raw, why you should go organic, suggested equipment, a raw food pantry list, pointers on quick and easy meal preparation, green smoothie basics, flavor balancing and some yummy recipes and how to mistake proof them. Whew!...Yes it was a lot! The class which was an all-day one and totally enjoyable, was led by Chef Jenya (pictured above)!

Seeing as I can’t give you all this information in one post, I will focus today on what stuck with me the most. Over the next few weeks, I’ll go over other things that are just as important.

Flavor Balancing in Raw Cuisine

Learning to balance flavors is what will free you to create your own masterpieces. The elements of flavor balancing are the same elements that go into balancing flavors in all ethnic traditions. Together they act as a choir, each flavor merging together to become one harmonic cord. The voices are sweet, salty, sour, pungent and bitter. Each flavor influences each other and are all supported by the patriarch of the family:fats.

Sweet: brings balance to all other flavors, increases our pleasure quotient.
Examples: dates, dried and fresh fruits, agave nectar, stevia, etc.

Salty: Universal flavor enhancer, adds depth and roundness to the choir
Examples: solar-dried sea salt, tamari, miso, celery

Acid/sour: Enhances other flavors in small amounts, adds intensity, reduces the amount of salt required, adds a high note/brilliance/liveliness to the choir of flavores, keeps greens from oxidizing.
Examples: lemon, lime, tamarind, grapefruit

Pungent/spicy: Adds drama, brilliance and intensity
Examples: gingerroot, garlic, onion, hot chili peppers, mustard

Bitter: Highly alkaline
Examples: romaine lettuce, kale, arugula, dandelion, chard, nutmeg, aromatic herbs

Fats: carries and emulsifies (thickens) the other flavors, bringing them together harmonically as one voice, calms all flavors
Examples: cold pressed oils, avocado, coconut milk/cream, nuts and nut oils

A 7th flavor was mentioned which is an earthy flavor. An example of that would be mushrooms.

The thought behind involving all these flavors in a meal is to satisfy every taste so that you don’t feel as if you’re lacking in anything, which could lead to you overeating or eating a food that is not the best for you simply to satisfy that taste.

Chef Jenya made a Super Meal salad to help us understand this principle of flavor balancing and let me tell you it was absolutely delish!! (Sorry I didn’t take a picture. I got caught up in the class and taking in all that she was doing and saying.) It had beets in it and let me tell you. I am not fond of beets in no way, shape, form or fashion. But they were absolutely delightful in this salad.

Anyhoo, another wonderful tip that I got from her class is illustrated in the photo below. She purchased mason jars from Ace Hardware and stores her greens in them. She explained that since the greens are a plant (Duh me.) they can be kept fresh in water. Just be sure to change the water daily. And of course, use filtered water.

This picture really doesn't do this justice. It was absolutely beautiful! So I'm trying to figure out how I can pull this off at home with a cat who likes to nibble on my plants. We shall see.

As I said, I will continue to share this information over the next few weeks. It’s impossible to put it all in one post. Chef Jenya is a delight! You can check her out here. She actually heads the Raw Vegan Meetup group in Atlanta! She’s very friendly and not rigid in her approach to living foods and wellness.

Peace and blessings,


  1. Great information and tips. I like Chef Jenya's tip on storing our greens, the photo is beautiful. I'm really into playing with flavors and it is especially fun doing so with raw food. Thanks for sharing you experience. Looking forward to reading the posts to follow.

  2. Wow, duh me too about the greens in water tip. Nice! I can't wait to read more.

    P.S. You have a cat?
    P.P.S. What is up with your Twitter?


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