I am a doctor, so you should listen to me. Spoken with such authority, who can doubt what I am about to write? Certainly, the fact that I am a doctor of computer science makes me an authority on just about everything under the sun, including nutrition?
Of course, you shouldn’t. I have no clue about how to keep in shape, at least not in the practical sense. I might have some ideas, but unless they get me into a form that can wear a speedo with pride (I do, but without pride), I am not in any authority to give you advice on what to eat and how.
From when I was a youngster, I’ve always loved making food. Most of the food that I was cooking would end up being sampled. It started with baking cookies with my mother, an activity that I thoroughly enjoyed. I can still taste the raw gingerbread dough that we used. Taste and smell are very powerful memories, far stronger than sight and hearing. At least that is how it was for me. If school had been about making a great tasting meal, rather than passing some arbitrary test, I would have done incredibly well.
A few years ago, I had a friend who was obsessed with raw vegan food. Nothing she ever ate had been heated beyond 38ºC. She gave me lots of tips on how I could become a hunk of a guy, all by changing my diet. I have no idea whether her tips would have worked or not, because I simply cannot say goodbye to cooked food. I tried some of the ideas. For example, green smoothies. Now apparently kale is a superfood and put into a blender will taste delicious. Since I could not source kale here, I used wild Cretan mountain greens, which you usually cook for quite a while before they become almost edible. I had purchased a Vitamix machine, on suggestion by my dear friend. It is an incredible mixer and will blend almost anything for you. Trick is to have enough liquid in the container. Eager to try my “green smoothie” that everyone was raving about, I took some ingredients, such as banana, apple, and some other fruits and then added my mountain greens. After blending, I had this rather foul smelling green sludge that I poured into a glass and added two ice blocks. Since everyone was raving about how delicious this would be, I ignored the smell that reminded me of a diarrhetic cow and took a sip. Forcing it down, I thought that perhaps once I get used to it, I would begin to like it. Nope. Didn’t happen. It was revolting. I tried a number of different approaches to making these “delicious” green smoothies. Perhaps the people who liked them were blessed with a genetic taste bud deficiency?
We do use our Vitamix blender every single day and I’m very glad that I bought it. It cost as much as 10 normal blenders, but is very very good. The blades are very sharp and we can make very smooth blends indeed. I can highly recommend you buy one, if you don’t have one already.
Another thing my friend would do is show me pictures of delicious looking foods she had prepared in her dehydrator. After much contemplation, I thought I should also get myself one. Despite the price (question – why are all these health things so incredibly expensive???), I bought the Sedona Dehydrator, with 9 trays that can hold things to be dried. My initial thought was to dry watermelons, of which we have an abundance in Crete. That didn’t work out too well. Watermelon ends up being just too sweet. Plus all the sugar isn’t going to do well for a diet. I tried a bunch of different things, including sprouted lentils that had then been blended and made into crackers. Now those were completely disgusting. I had read on “the internet” about how nice they were. Again. Genetically deformed taste buds must have lied to their owners!
Which brings me to the purpose of this writing: “Great Tasting Raw Vegan Crackers.” As you can see, I do not like bad tasting food. I have nothing against vegetarian or even vegan food, as long as it is delicious. These crackers I made are unbelievably “more-ish”. Once I start munching on them, I just cannot stop. That’s the type of food that I like making. If it is healthy to boot (supposedly) then that’s a bonus too. Last week I made my third batch, so I think that I can now share with you some tricks to make it. You will need:
1. Sedona dehydrator or equivalent, that can dry the mixture at 38ºC, not hotter. Some BS about enzymes dying when we cook food. No idea if that is true or not. The believers swear it is. Rational people don’t.
2. Vitamix blender or equivalent, which is able to pulverize your ingredients into subatomic particles. Something about breaking it up into small pieces to make it more digestible.
3. Large mixing bowl.
4. Assortment of nuts and seeds: cashews, pistachios, almonds, cashews, sesame, cashews and lots of linseed. Nuts should all be raw.
5. Several onions, garlic, tomatoes, chillies, and whatever other vegetables you’ve got lying around your fridge.
6. Cretan sea salt. Yeah, it has to be Cretan, otherwise your crackers will taste terrible. So if your recipe is a disaster, that’s the reason.
Start by soaking the seeds and nuts in water for 24 hours. Change the water every few hours. Again, some magic happens when you soak seeds and nuts. The enzymes get activated, which means that the nut becomes alive. If you leave it long enough, it will sprout wings and start flying away. Or something like that. I don’t believe it really makes such a big difference, but what do you have to lose except a bit of water and effort? The seeds and nuts will obviously expand in size, so you need a large enough mixing bowl. Once you have soaked them, throw away the water. I once used the water in the blend when making a drink, and the heartburn was terrible.
The blending is the most difficult. Linseed is quite oily and sesame is also sticky. I fill the Vitamix blender about 50% with my sees and nuts and then about another 30% with water. This is then liquid enough to blend without causing strain on the motor. All the blended seeds and nuts go into a large mixing bowl. However, I don’t blend all of them – about 63.562%. The rest of the nuts and seeds go into the mix whole. This adds a bit of roughage and bulk to the crackers and makes them more delicious.
Now the vegetables. In my last batch, I added 5 raw onions, an entire bunch of garlic, 5 chillies from my garden (yeah, again, if they are from anywhere else than my garden and your crackers are tasteless – that’s the reason) and also four large tomatoes. Mixed of course with water to make the blending easier. You could use as much water as you need, since it will be evaporated away in the dehydration process.
All of that is mixed together in a large mixing bowl. Once you are ready, get the trays ready and put teflon sheets down. Pour the mixture onto the trays and put them into the deydrator. Put it on at 38ºC and wait. After a day or so of drying, turn the sheets over and remove the sheets. This will speed up the drying process. Once they are almost dry (might take 2-3 days), take them out and cut them into snack sizes. Put them back in and let them dry until they are completely crunchy.
Ohhh, so delicious. Really. Also nutritious. If they ever do a mission to Mars, this is what they will take along to keep them alive. And no enzymes were destroyed, which means that your gut gets all the natural health benefits of … oh who am I kidding. I don’t really believe that stuff myself, but the crackers are truly scrumptious 🙂