Eat to Beat the Heat! Easy Minimal to No Cooking Meals to Keep the Kitchen Cool This Summer
If it’s scorching hot outside, standing in front of a piping hot oven while a hearty grass-fed roast slow cooks is not exactly the most appealing way to prepare dinner. When the roast is done cooking and it’s time to prep the veggie sides in a bit of coconut oil, the broccoli won’t be the only thing sweating – you’ll be drenched, too!
Even in an air-conditioned kitchen, there’s no doubt about it; things can get pretty hot when you’re cooking up a storm.
What does that leave us with in terms of healthy meals for a scalding summer’s day?
Salads come to mind, but while they’re one very viable solution for a meal that allows you to skip the heat, they can begin to feel like the same old thing and start getting old fast. Plus, one of the easiest ways to keep salads from being boring often involves leftovers, which need to be cooked at some point in the very recent future.
So what’s left?
Think raw! A raw approach is one that can easily be combined with a real Paleo diet regime without compromise. Raw foodism (or following a raw food diet) is the dietary practice of eating only uncooked, unprocessed foods, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, eggs, fish, meat, and dairy products. Some raw foodists may also include simply processed foods such as sprouted seeds, cheese, and fermented foods such as yogurts, kefir, kombucha or sauerkraut, but generally not foods that have been pasteurized, homogenized, or produced with the use of synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives.1
There are indeed health benefits to eating raw foods:
Alkalinity – The raw food diet is an alkaline diet, which helps create balance within our bodies by facilitating the uptake and utilization of nutrients and oxygen from the blood, the release of waste products from the cells, and many other processes on the cellular level including bone mineralization. Keeping the correct pH balance in the body is critical to enjoying good health.2 (The Paleo Diet, too, is net alkaline, given the amount of fresh veggies we consume!)
Enzymes – Enzymes are required for every single reaction in the body and may be found in higher concentrations on a raw food diet, as cooking degrades and then kills them.
But here’s the best part- we don’t have to go raw vegan to experience all the benefits! While there are certain similarities between Paleo and vegan, such as a focus on fresh, local veggies and some of the fats consumed, the one obvious difference is the sourcing of protein.
Adding some raw into the Paleo mix can expand our food options while tantalizing our palate at the same time. Don’t forget, raw is not just for veggies, and, even though a platter of of freshly cut crudités with guacamole is always a hit, let’s get a little more creative and go raw with our proteins, too. Think sashimi, Carpaccio and steak tartare!
Nothing to be afraid of when working with raw proteins. By being mindful of the sourcing, confirming the fish is sashimi grade and meats are grass fed and local, and paying heed to food safety guidelines, there needn’t be any more risk eating raw protein than eating cooked.
Check out my Grass Fed Steak Tartare recipe for some inspiration! It’s simple and delicious, and you can even put that Kitchen Aid mixer you nearly gave away when you went Paleo to use by snapping on the meat grinding attachment and grinding your own meat!
 Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 16 June 2015.
 “Raw Foods Diet and Its Health Benefits.” Raw Foods Diet and Its Health Benefits. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 June 2015.