What Equipment do I Need for a Raw Food Diet?
By far the most common questions that I get are to do with raw food kitchen equipment.
So I decided to do it once for all. . .
I’m creating my definitive list of favourite stuff for the kitchen. I’ll keep this updated too, so you’ll know that it’s my latest recommendations.
BTW, if you’re a manufacturer and want to send me a bit of kit to take a look at for this list, drop us an email. A note on that though, I want to keep this list authentic, so I’ll only post stuff that I use and think is awesome.
I’ve also created a PDF for you with everything from this post on. All you have to do is share this post far and wide on the social interwebs and the download is yours to keep. See the bit at the bottom of this post for that.
Please also note that you absolutely do not need to buy everything here to start or maintain a raw food diet. The biggest help in making your raw food recipes will be the first 2 items on the list: a really good knife and chopping board.
I’ve put anything and everything here that I’ve collected in the past 10 years of being into raw food, so take your time when putting your own raw food kitchen together.
Here goes. . .
Knife & Cutting Board
This is by far the most important thing to invest in first off.
A great knife and chopping board will make you feel like you’re creating art in the kitchen. And that’s a good thing because that’s exactly what you’re doing.
I don’t even mean takes ages over presentation either. I’m talking about everything you do in the kitchen being your art. Creating health is an art. Creating time for yourself to do this is an art.
It makes a difference when you think about it like this.
Knives are definitely a personal choice. It comes down to how it feels when you use it. Different people like different weights.
And some chefs will collect them just because that’s what they like to do. But that doesn’t mean you have to have a huge set of multiple knives. Even chefs that have a huge amount of knives end up using one (their favourite) most of the time. And after all, we’re just chopping vegetables here, not meat.
I’m currently using this knife from Santa Fe Stone Works, but I’ve got my sights set on one of these from Aura Knifeworks.
Not totally necessary, but boy does it bring an edge to your raw food preparation. If you haven’t got one yet, you’ve probably seen lots of raw food recipes that need dehydrators and wondered whether to invest. Or you’re pining after one until you can afford it.
I use 2 different brands of dehydrator.
Currently I use Excalibur Dehydrators in my workspace and a TSM dehydrator in my home kitchen. To be honest I end up doing most of my raw food prep in my workspace, so the TSM doesn’t see much action at the moment.
I have a blog post talking about raw food dehydrators if you want to actually see what they are how they work.
I also have a post about using an oven instead of a dehydrator.
Here’s what I like and dislike about the ones I use right now. And remember, I’ll always keep this post updated so this will always be the ones I’m using at the moment.
This is the staple dehydrator of the raw food world. I’ve had one since I started out and I still find them the easiest to work with. Mine has had to have a couple of extra screws in it to hold the thing together, but that’s only because I’ve had them in and out of the back of cars over the years, catering, doing classes and whatnot. If you’re not using yours professionally, you won’t have that issue.
That’s really the main drawback of this dehydrator; the plastic looks and feels cheap, and don’t get me started on the ‘door’, which is basically another piece of plastic that hangs off the front.
There’s a light at the end of the tunnel though. Excalibur now make stainless steel one. They’ve yet to come to the UK, but are available in the US. I’ll be buying one.
For now, I have the 9 tray, which I would advise because it’s so easy to fill up a 5 tray really quickly. I advise that you use your dehydrator a couple of times a week to make lots of goodies to keep you going.
A timer is not essential either. It’s a little more expensive to get one, but you only really need it if you’re going to be out when something you need to be partly dry finishes. An example would be if you make wraps; they need to not be dehydrated to crackers, but stay pliable.
I love this dehydrator for it’s look and build quality. The ‘door’ on this one is a little more substantial so doesn’t feel like just a pice of hanging plastic, helped by the fact it’s actually stainless steel too. I do also find the fan a bit more efficient and quieter. The trays though aren’t quite as nice to work with as the Excalibur ones.
Everything I said above about the size of the dehydrator applies here too. As does the timer. Actually, this dehydrator has an option to get a digital readout timer and temperature control, which is really cool if you’re into your gadgets.
I’ve had a few different juicers over the years and there always seems to be one that’s different and better. As I write this, the new thing is to make a vertical juicer, but to be honest, I think we’re at a point where juicers are about as good as they’re going to get. Unless James Dyson decides to enter the juicer market.
More recently I even got into using my Vitamix as a juicer. Just blend the goodies and then strain them through a nut milk bag. It’s quick and easy, so good if you’re in a hurry.
But for quality juice, I always seem to come back to this juicer. It does have a few parts to clean, but it doesn’t’ ever take me over 10 minutes to clean. It just seems like a mountain to climb when you look at it.
As they say, the best juicer is the one you’ll actually use. Currently, this is the one I use.
OK, here’s the big boy in the room. I’m not even sure what that means, or if it sounds weird. . .
But the Vitamix is the hands-down most used piece of equipment after my knife and cutting board.
It’s absolutely worth the money and everyone I seem to speak to about it says they use theirs daily too. It’s definitely not one of those pieces of equipment that gathers dust.
People often ask me the difference between a Vitamix (which is a blender) and a food processor, and if they need both.
The easiest way to think about it is that a Vitamix (blender) is good for blending liquids, or anything that needs to be smooth. A food processor will grind things down and give you the option to have some chunkiness.
Now, there’s some overlap here. For example, there’s lots of things you could do in either. Tomato sauce would be one. But if you wanted really smooth cashew cream, you’ll never get that in a food processor.
Which brings me neatly on to. . .
Cuisinart Food Processor
My food processor of choice is the Cuisinart MP14nu (I just typed that without looking it up, because I’ve been asked about the model number so often #geek).
They don’t actually make this model anymore, but the new range is just as good, you have a choice in that new range of bowl sizes, so I would go for the biggest you can afford.
Food processors are great for making your own nut butter (although you can actually do that in a Vitamix too) and for grinding batter for crackers and breads.
I live and work in London and the water that comes out of the tap here has been sanitised, chemically cleaned, been through 100s of humans (that’s a strange thing to think about), has traveled and sat in miles of pipes and you only have to look at the inside of a kettle to know that’s not what you want your insides to look like.
There’s 2 issue with water. First is the cleanliness and second is the aliveness. For the first one, I use a distiller. Many articles have been written about the distiller and how the water is dead water. I’d agree with that, but I want to get the cleanest water I can, so I distill and then add some Himalayan salt to give it some structure again.
I use the Ecowater 800.
To make sure I’m drinking truly alive water, I also drink water from vegetables, aka juicing
For more on this, check out Kevin Gianni’s Water Secrets series. It’s fascinating and will give you a new appreciation of the water you drink.
I’ve used this style of mandoline (pictured) from the beginning, but when I lost the hand guard for my first one, I decided it was time to buy a really fancy stainless steel mandoline, 3 times the price of this.
And I didn’t like the new one. It just didn’t cut as well as this one. Any search online for a mandoline will bring up one of these in the first couple of results, but if you have trouble, search for the Joyce Chen mandoline.
To be honest, I don’t really use this a lot. I prefer my peeler to make pasta out of vegetables. But I am including it on the list here, because it’s a popular piece of kit.
Of all the spiralisers out there, the Lurch Spirali is the best one. Actually, now I’ve written this I want to go use it. That’ll be my dinner tonight
Wine Straining Bag
My good friend Amy Levin (we made some raw chocolate videos together) put me on to these instead of a nut milk bag.
Nut milk nags for making nut milk are cool and all, but these wine straining bags are bigger and sturdier.
Is there anything I’ve missed? Leave a comment if there’s a piece of equipment that you are thinking of buying and want my opinion on.
Yoga Nidra for Better Sleep (and Where to Get a Download)
When my girlfriend Natasha showed me Yoga Nidra I was surprised I’d never heard of it.
A technique that allows promises all the benefits of 4 hours sleep in 1 hour’s worth of practice? I’ll have some of that.
I’ve seen the benefits myself and, like a good boyfriend should, have recommended it to friends. One of my friends, Mitti, started playing the recorded version of it (like a guided meditation, but more focussed on body awareness) before she went to bed and reported back that she’d effectively cured herself of her years of insomnia.
Natasha and I now run The Lightworks Retreats, which is a one day urban retreat, which finishes up with a Yoga Nidra session, so everyone goes home totally blissed out.
We’d love you to join us for that, but if you want to experience this right away, Natasha has written a guest post to talk you through her Yoga Sleep Method, including where to get a free audio to use. . .
Over the past few years, I have studied and practiced Swami Satyananda’s style of Yoga Nidra, which includes effective and proven techniques for physical, mental and emotional relaxation and exploration of the subconscious mind.
… and I am excited to introduce them to you in my Yoga Sleep Method.
The Yoga Sleep Method is an amalgamation of techniques, tools and cues I learned through my time in India and after. It combines the simple mind-exercises of Yoga Nidra with creative visualisations.
Yoga Nidra with a modern-day twist.
To read more about The Yoga Sleep Method (and get a free audio download) visit: www.theyogasleepmethod.com
The practice of Yoga Nidra is profound.
It restores health in such an easy and deep way.
And anyone can do it!
Here’s five amazing effects of Yoga Nidra…
One hour of Yoga Sleep is as effective as FOUR hours of normal sleep.
In the state of Yoga Sleep (waking sleep), the energy that we use up thinking, worrying, planning… is no longer “leaked”.
In this way, Yoga Nidra allows the body to focus on rejuvenating it’s overtaxed tissues, glands, organs and muscles.
Yoga Sleep (Yoga Nidra) creates inner harmony by stimulating the parts of the brain responsible for maintaining balance between your internal and external environments.
Yoga Nidra helps to maintain your homeostatic balance. It even evolves it! … by bringing your awareness to normally involuntary and unconscious functions in your body.
You are awake and also asleep in the practice of Yoga Sleep!
Your body feels like it falls asleep but the aim is to keep the mind aware and awake!
“Yoga Nidra has been termed as “sleepless sleep” because we learn to enter the state between sleep and wakefulness without loss of awareness”
~ Swami Satyananda
AND FIVE – the most interesting!
Your brain waves slow down from the Beta to Alpha to Theta wave states… and sometimes all the way down to Delta… at which point you may start snoring like me! Haha! And be aware of the sound at the same time! It’s so crazy when that happens!
Yoga Nidra aims to take your mind through each and every brainwave pattern that would occur in a healthy night’s sleep.
Each brain wave state is as important as the next!
But often in this day and age we miss out the middle two Alpha and Theta and go from Beta straight to Delta.
However, the more you practice Yoga Sleep, the easier it will be for you to stay in Alpha and Theta wave states. These are the juicy, wisdom-filled and nourishing mind states!
. Now if you are like… “Huh? Brain waves?” Here’s a little recap…
The brainwave states:
- Awake – Conscious Mind – Beta – Fast brain waves! Stressed, busy mind and an excited/exhausted feeling inside.
- Relaxation – Superconscious Mind – Alpha – Slow brain waves. Healing can begin. Rejuvenating every cell from the effects of your busy day and any toxins. Your nervous system relaxes and you tap into the para-sympathetic nervous system to “Rest and Digest”.
- Dreaming Sleep – Subconscious Mind – Theta – Super slow brain waves… lost of awareness of the physical body. Cosmic consciousness can enter your awareness bringing with it wisdom, insight and the deep release of emotional tension.
- Deep Sleep – Unconscious Mind – Delta – oops totally gone. No one’s home anymore.
We will look to explore all the wondrous states of your mind at The Winter Warmers Lightworks Retreat on 28th November and at The British Yoga Festival on Friday 5th December in my “Delicious Flow and Yoga Sleep” workshop.
Don’t delay and miss out on the opportunity to get all sleepy in the best kind of way.
And maybe it’s your first time and you are keen to know how it feels on a mental and emotional level to relax yet stay totally conscious and aware whilst in deep relaxation… beginners are soooo welcome, don’t be shy.
I’m Making This for You (Because You Asked)
I’m at home right now, having just come back from a couple of day’s worth of filming at Jason Vale’s Juice Factory.
What have I been up to?
Survey results: you spoke loud and clear.
So a little while ago, I sent out a survey to my email list saying that I was going to be making this ‘free thing’, asking exactly what it is that you want me to make for you.
I had a huge response of over 3,000 people fill out that survey, telling me exactly what’s wanted and needed.
It took me hours to look through all those responses, and I wanted to make sure I got it right, so I wrote this blog post to check in with you.
To my amazement, I then had over 900 comments on that post to tell me that, “yes” this is exactly the free thing you want me to create for you.
By the way, feel free to keep on commenting on that blog post so I can continue to hone and improve this thing I’m putting together.
I first of all want to say a huge thank you for all the time you spent on the responses. They were thoughtful, insightful, thorough and really made me think.
One of the things I realised is that you’re really lacking in ideas for foods that you can make easily and quickly, that are packed with nutrition and flavour, and that don’t take lots of equipment.
Well, I’m excited to say that I am making these free videos and recipes for you.
We’ve started it and that’s what I’ve been filming. Jason was kind enough to let me use his beautiful kitchen space you can see in this picture, so we can make this an extra beautiful thing. Dan, who edits my videos, is busily putting together the videos, and I’m having the recipes and photos put into full colour PDFs for you, so it’s a nice little package that you can download.
How do you get it?
All you have to do is make sure you signed up to my email list here, and then just keep a lookout for the download instructions in a few weeks, when it’s all ready!