Sunday, July 1, 2012

Cauliflower Tabbouleh

 I know it's been a little while since I updated on my raw food week and I figured it was time to report back on my experience. It went quite well and included lots of fresh fruits and vegetables (obviously). I felt I was eating really simply and clean. It was a nice time to sort of cleanse my system. But honestly, I'm glad it's over. Here's why:

1. I missed cooking.
I didn't enjoy having to use my food processor for almost every meal I made and most of the dishes I ate just didn't really satisfy me in terms of taste the way cooked foods do. Don't get me wrong, I love raw foods and believe that they definitely should be included in and with meals, but 100% raw dishes just didn't do it for me.

2. I felt like I was hungry (almost) all the time.
I say almost because there were times throughout the week where I felt really great and satisfied and full of energy. But other times, I just felt like I needed more. I think this is pretty common with newbies who try eating raw (like me) and I get that. It takes time to learn what works for your body and one week to figure it out just isn't long enough.

3. My digestion wasn't what it normally is...and normally my digestion is perfect.
This was by far the most surprising aspects of the week. Without getting into the territory of too much information, let's just say that I wasn't as regular as I normally am. This was very weird to me. I mean, I was eating so much fresh foods, full of fiber and other good things. I was drinking plenty of water. I was doing everything right (I thought). Maybe I wasn't eating enough? Maybe my system needed time to adjust? Who knows, but now that I'm back to eating my normal way of eating, I've been doing fine.

4. I don't believe in restriction, diets, food fads, and elimination of nutrients.
A diet consisting of all fruit and little fat is not healthy. A diet consisting of all animal products and no fruits and vegetables is not healthy. You get my drift. I believe in seasonal eating, the joy of preparing food and feeding others, and I enjoy tasting and trying new and healthy delicious things. Why should I have to say "no" to a wonderfully prepared bean salad filled with roasted vegetables and fresh herbs because it's not raw? What's wrong with a local, organic, free range poached egg with a gorgeous orange yolk full of absorbable vitamin A nestled over top of a bed of gently cooked local kale and collard greens? For me, eating the way that works for my body will take precedence over what any diet book, fad, or other people practicing diet doctrines may say. I eat a whole foods diet, built upon an abundance of fresh (and local during this wonderful summer season) produce, prepared in a variety of ways. That's what works for me.
So there you have my reasons. And I will leave you today with a recipe that I actually enjoyed during my raw food week. I actually make this salad all the time at work and people seem to really enjoy it. It's really adaptable and I like the idea of using cauliflower as a replacement for grain. I may experiment with adding other vegetables and herbs to this salad. I think it would be quite tasty.

Raw Cauliflower Tabbouleh (makes a very large bowl of tabbouleh)

1 small head (or half of a large) of cauliflower, roughly chopped
2 large handfuls grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 cucumber, diced
1 large bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
one quarter of a red onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
juice of 2 lemons
sea salt and black pepper to taste
lime slices and sprouts for garnish (optional)

Put chopped pieces of cauliflower in food processor. Pulse until cauliflower is the consistency of couscous. Add the processed cauliflower to a large bowl with all of the other prepared ingredients. Toss well and season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with sprouts and lime if desired.

For more fabulous food and photos from Nourish The Roots, 
be sure to follow on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest


  1. Hey Renee, I liked reading about your experience doing all raw. I agree with what you said, it's definitely a challenge trying to follow a 100% raw diet and purposefully depriving yourself of nutritious cooked food just for the sake of staying "100% raw" is unhealthy. I am doing a 30 day challenge again lol, on day 7... but I had some questionable items here and there because I was travelling (dressing and pasteurized juice...). I might extend it as long as possible if I feel like it. The main reason why I am doing it is because I like a good challenge so long as I'm not miserable, and am curious as to what benefits I can gain. It's great that it's summer and all the yummy fruits are in season. And, we have a pretty respectable vegetable garden growing in our yard (you'd be proud).
    Anyway, I was wondering about what exactly you ate on a given day. I find that I feel really hungry when I haven't had enough ripe sweet fruit. Also, I also experienced poorer digestion when first starting the full raw thing, not sure why it happens either, but maybe it's the body becoming a little shocked from the increase in fiber, or from unripe fruit and poor combining. After 1 week or so digestion normalizes and becomes pretty good. At least in my experience.
    Lol I feel like I'm ranting on your blog here, sorry! Take care, I hope you're having an awesome Summer :)

    1. Hey Paulina! Thanks for commenting...I love it! It's great to hear that you've been doing so well eating raw for so long and it sounds like it's really working for you. And that's awesome to hear about your veggie's so cool to plant, harvest, and eat your food.
      The main reason why I decided to do a raw week was because of curiosity. I already feel great eating the diet that I currently do, but I wondered if I would see clearer skin, more energy, etc. I also knew it was a good time to do it since it's nice and warm out. I realize one week isn't enough time to fully see results, but I wanted to try. I knew that I would be hungry, too, as this was an attempt at a cleanse and I was trying to give my body a break.
      On a particular day, for breakfast I ate a large bowl of mixed fruit (peaches, plums, berries, orange) with some walnuts and almonds. After eating that, I would feel really good until lunch. I would then have a vegetable juice and then a salad with veggies (cucumbers, tomatoes, sprouts, avocado) and a collard wrap with more veggies. I also drank organic raw kombucha which really helped give me energy and keep me satisfied (plus probiotics are great). For dinner, I would have another salad topped with more veggies and say some raw taboulleh and some olives plus some raw unpasteurized soukraut-(more probiotcs plus I love the stuff). A few hours after dinner, I'd have some more fruit if I was hungry, like berries or something. For other snacks, I'd have some organic unsulphered dried fruit like dates or dried plums.
      Overall, I felt good. I just felt that I had to put a lot of effort into my eating. And like I said above, I missed cooking. And I missed brown rice haha. But I still like raw foods and eat them regularly and know that they're great for you. I just don't see the need to be 100% raw and excluding foods on a regular basis. I'm glad it works for you...every body is different.
      One more thing-As someone who knows about the body and how it works through my schooling and research, I truly believe that limiting healthy fat consumption is not good for the body in the long run, especially for child bearing age women. It is not natural and can be detrimental, especially if you're planning on having children someday.

      It's so good to hear from you and keep in touch...I love when people have discussions about food and healthy things :)

  2. Berry nice :) I have never tried fermented raw foods (on purpose), do you think they are necessary following a raw diet?
    The raw diet I'm following is 80/10/10, and it emphasizes carbohydrate calories ( at least 80% of daily intake), and 10% protein and 10% fat. Basically I eat a lot of fruit during the day, usually just one or two different types of fruit at a time in large quantities, so a meal would be about 600 calories or so. Then at dinnertime I eat a very large green salad (~1 head of lettuce) with other savory fruits, plus nuts and avocado. This way of eating I find is very enjoyable once I got over how different it is from what I consider normal. I learned about this diet from a runner in my running club (, and then I read the book on it (The 801010 Diet by Doug Graham). I am curious as to what you'd make of it considering you're very into nutrition. I have a copy of the book if you'd like to borrow it to read.

    1. Hey, sorry for the delay in commenting back. I think fermented raw foods are fantastic. They repopulate healthy gut flora, help with absorption of nutrients, improve digestion, and strengthen the immune system. Plus, fermenting foods (like cabbage for sourkraut) drastically increases vitamin c content of the vegetable.
      As for the 801010 diet that you're following, I have to say that it seems pretty restrictive in terms of whole food groups. For example, not nearly enough fat. Fat is a necessary for ALL of our cell walls (nerves, skin, blood vessels, etc.) and is necessary to absorb so many other nutrients (like vitamin A for example). Restricting fat intake (from healthy sources, of course) can cause body damage in the long term. Plus, that's a heck of a lot of fruit. While I love fruit, I can only imagine how long it takes to consume enough calories from're practically eating all day long. And having to count calories in general seems to me like it would take the joy out of eating.
      I don't mean to sound judgmental or critical, because I know that every person's body type is different and works well with different ways of eating. There's a lot of mixed information out there regarding nutrition, as it is such a complex, evolving, and subjective thing. But I would be careful of extreme diets like this promoted by equally extreme people. I think there are other, more balanced ways, to achieve optimum health through plant-based eating.

    2. :) I'd like to try some fermented food sometime to see how it makes me feel. How do you make sourkraut?
      I really agree with you on the healthy fat thing. With 801010 you still get all the essentials fats, but just not as many grams as you would if you consumed more than 10% of your calories from fat. So on a 2000 cal diet you'd get about 200g of fat on average. The argument for that is that excess fats in the blood stream interfere with the absorption of sugars into the cells, which is what your body uses as fuel, and it can cause a whole bunch of health problems- like diabetes or candida overgrowth. I haven't followed the diet for nearly long enough to really attest to it, but I have been following people who've been doing it for years and years and claim to experience its benefits, so we'll see! Oh and yeah it is a lot of fruit to consume when you compare it to the standard way of eating, but after a while I've gotten used to it (and my stomach capacity has expanded) and its become very enjoyable. Something about munching on sugary fruit makes me really happy :P Also, its extremeness and general weirdness in today's world really appeal to me ^_^ Most people who follow the diet long term don't count their calories, because their bodies have accustomed to that way of eating and they know when they need more or not. It's just when you're first starting out your body doesn't know how to distinguish satiation from just feeling full from all the volume... so it's good to count to make sure you're not undereating.