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Consider raw foods that were once unusual

June 1, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Many of us want to be health conscious but a raw foods diet seems so extreme. Well we are going to take a look at a bunch of foods that were once considered quirky but are now quite common.

"A lot of those things have come out from the whole food movement and they are very easy to make," said cookbook author and raw food Chef Ani Phyo.

Nut and soy milks, kale salad and chips, and seaweed snacks are no longer considered bizarre.

"The more whole foods we add into our diet, it just means that we are making less room for processed foods," said Phyo.

That is something that proved true for Phyo's PR gal Diane Paylor.

"My mother's diabetic. My father, my brother, my grandmother died of it, and so I stumbled upon Ani Phyo and raw food. There was just something about her food and recipes that resonated with me and her personality," said Paylor, who lost weight trying a raw food diet.

No more than 5 feet tall, carrying 235 pounds was tough for Paylor. She decided to give raw food a chance.

"It just felt real to me. It felt like I could do it and it really helped me change my perspective on life and feeling good," said Paylor. "I have never felt better. And everyone keeps telling me I look younger."

Paylor lost 80 pounds. She started with smoothies and then experimented with produce that were once considered unusual.

For example, there's a spinach banana smoothie that's creamy and sweet, low-carb pasta made from zucchini, and even dehydrated kale chips with a crunchy, cheesy taste.

Kale also softens beautifully with some lemon and olive oil when given time to breakdown before serving.

At True Food in Santa Monica, Dr. Andrew Weil makes a delicious salad that mocks a Caesar quite well.

Gelson's and Whole Foods also sell raw kale salads if you want to do a test drive.

Phyo made a tasty filling for her seaweed sandwich.

"There is a layer of pate in there. It's made of sunflower seeds and lemon juice," said Phyo.

She uses a dehydrator, which loses the chance of burning food. But if you're careful, she says you could start with an oven on very low heat.

If you have blender, you can put cashews in water and make your own sweet, creamy nut milk.

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