Thursday, April 23, 2009

Raw Crackers—A Great Source Of Omega 3

Crackers on a dehydrator sheet.

Transition Goal For Week Four: Getting Ready For A One Month “Raw Food Cleanse”
For the past 3 weeks, we have been adding more and more raw food into our diets in preparation for next months raw food cleanse. By gradually substituting raw meals and snacks for cooked and perhaps processed ones, we have gotten ourselves used to eating less toxic and more fiber rich foods. By doing this gradually, cleansing and detoxification reactions will be minimized. So for the remainder of this month, let’s get prepared for our ONE MONTH RAW.

You may ask why on earth we would go completely raw for an entire month. The answer is simple. It’s spring! You are cleaning your closets, weeding your yards, preparing your vegetable gardens, well, you get the point. This will be a month that you will relieve your body from expending energy on digestion as the enzymes in the raw food you eat will provide most of that function. That will allow your body to use that energy to heal and rebuild.

During The Month Cleanse, You May:
• Lose weight
• Have more energy
• Need less sleep
• Need fewer prescription drugs
• Have 2 or 3 bowel movements a day
• Have fewer allergies
• Feel more alive
• Improve one or more physical issues you may have
• Be more joyful

I’m not sure how you will react, but this is certainly my personal experience with doing a 100% raw cleanse and that’s how I continue to feel when I keep the level of raw food in my diet around 50 to 75%. So for the next week, in preparation for the ONE MONTH RAW, you may want to do the following:

• Sign up a few friends and family members to do this with you.
• Find a raw food potluck or meet up group in your area (try or do a web search on “raw food potluck”.
• Buy a raw food cook book—just look on Amazon, there are many to choose from.
• Borrow or buy some raw food preparation tools like a Vita Mix or other high speed blender, a dehydrator, a juicer, sprouting jars, or a food processor.
• Plan out a menu listing breakfast, lunch and dinner recipes—many raw food meals take time and must be planned. Raw food crackers can take a whole day, and sprouts can take a few days, so you need to think ahead or you’ll be living on salads and smoothies (not so bad).
• List personal health goals that you want to achieve—for example, you may want to lose a few pounds, lower your cholesterol or stop taking allergy medication. Whatever it is, write it down.
• Check out a local raw food restaurant or find a good vegetarian restaurant that offers a number or raw food options.

If you are on meds or are undergoing chemotherapy, please discuss this cleanse with your doctor. Most allopathic doctors will just stare at you with a blank face, but give it a try. If nothing else, it may arouse their curiosity in healthy food—something they are definitely not exposed to in medical school. I asked my ophthalmologist this week if there was something I could eat or supplement with to help prevent cataracts. I had heard that bilberry, and certain carotenoids like lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin were beneficial. He responded by saying that the human body wasn’t meant to live this long. Once you’re 50 or 60, you’re just going to get things like this. I never ceased to be amazed at the idiocy of the medical profession. I told him that I planned to live to 100 and I don’t plan on having my body fall apart well before that time!

Today, I will give you a raw cracker recipe. I received good feedback on the raw corn chips I posted last week and I know that some of you are considering an investment in a dehydrator. So here is another recipe to entice you.

Raw crackers are a staple in any raw food diet. When you go completely raw, you tend to miss bread. Eating raw crackers seems to fill that urge. Also, when eating a salad or a raw soup, the crackers make the meal complete.

These raw crackers are very high in the essential fatty acids used by the body to build omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids. I can’t stress the importance of these nutrients enough. Omega 3 reduces inflammation and is very important for protection against cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and some cancers. Only 7 of these crackers will provide everything you need per day. (Read more about these nutrients at the end of this post titled, “If you don’t eat fish, read this”).


Raw Veggie-Seed Crackers [makes 85 crackers]
3/4 cup flax seeds
1/4 cup chia seeds (or you can omit and use 1 cup of flax seeds)
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds, soaked
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds, soaked
1 cup raw walnuts, soaked
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1 large celery stalk, chopped
1 small zucchini, chopped
1 small red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 T minced red onion
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons of sea salt or 1 ½ tablespoons Nama Shoyu soy sauce (to taste)
Filtered water for soaking

Combine the pumpkin and sunflower seeds in a bowl, cover with water and soak for 6 hours or overnight. Put the walnuts in a separate bowl, cover with water and soak for 6 hours or overnight. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flax and chia seeds with 1 3/4 cups of filtered water. Stir vigorously and let sit for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally for the first half hour. Then let soak for 4 or more hours. This will turn into a gelatinous mass. You will not be rinsing these. After the soaking time, rinse the pumpkin and sunflower seeds in a strainer and place in the large bowl with the flax and chia seeds. Rinse the walnuts and place in the food processor with the carrot, celery, zucchini, bell pepper, onion, garlic, lemon juice, and salt (or Nama Shoyu). Blend until smooth but don’t over process. You still want to see flecks of the vegetables. Add this mixture to the large bowl and mix well. Drop the mixture by teaspoonfuls onto the drying sheets of the dehydrator. This recipe should make about 85 crackers. Dry in the dehydrator at 105 to 115 degrees for 8 hours, flip, remove the drying sheet and dry for another 8 hours or until crisp. Serve with dips, salads, soups, raw nut butters or by themselves.

Per cracker: 29 calories, 2.5 g fat, 1.1 g saturated fat, zero g cholesterol, 1 g protein, 1.4 g carbohydrates, .9 g fiber, .6 g Alpha-linolenic omega 3 fatty acid, 1 g omega 6 fatty acid.

Why Do Raw Food Recipes Often Call For Soaking Nuts And Seeds?
• Soaking removes their enzyme inhibitors, allowing them to begin germinating, increasing their vitality as well as their nutrient density.
• Soaking and rinsing reduces their phytic acid content which inhibits the absorption of important minerals.
• It also makes them more digestible.

If You Don’t Eat Fish, Please Read This
• There are 3 types of omega 3 fatty acids. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), eicosapentanenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA are thought to be the most beneficial.
• Although many people get their requirements of EPA and DHA from fish or fish oil capsules, ALA omega 3 from sources like chia and flax seeds can be converted by the body into EPA and DHA.
• The Vegetarian Society recommends 4 g of ALA omega 3 fatty acids per day in order to ensure that the body produces adequate amounts of EPA and DHA.
• A proper balance of omega 6 to omega 3 is 4:1 or less. Most people eat a much higher ratio (almost 10:1) mostly because of the high use of corn and safflower oil.
• This high balance interferes with the conversion process in the body of ALA to the more beneficial EPA and DHA.
• These crackers have a less than 2:1 ratio. Seven crackers will provide the 4 g of ALA required to produce adequate amounts of EPA and DHA.
• You can also get 4 g of ALA from 1/2 tablespoon of flaxseed oil or a full tablespoon of ground flaxseed.


Anonymous said...

A lot of the recipes call for a dehydrator. I am not completely raw so I have not yet invested in one. Van you recommend baking time/temp for these?

Dr. Joanne L. Mumola Williams said...

I've never tried making these in the oven but just bake them on the lowest temperature that your oven will go and check them often. For example, kale chips can take 6 to 10 hours in the dehydrator but can take less than 30 minutes in the oven at 200 degrees F. Temperatures as low as 200 degrees for less than an hour shouldn't do significant harm to the omega 3 fatty acids. Please let me know how they turn out.

Unknown said...

Hi there! This recipe looks great. Totally new to the raw way and allergic to tree nuts. I do fine with cashews. Would those work in place of walnuts for these crackers? Thanks so much for your wonderful healthy lifestyle ideas! Be well.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dr. Joanne L. Mumola Williams said...

Hi Shawn,
I've never tried making these with cashews but it's worth a try. Cashews are generally used in recipes where you are trying to get a creamy texture - perhaps pecans or almonds might be a better substitute if you aren't allergic to them.