“Who decided that we should take these natural things that come out of the ground and put them in a big pot and heat them up?” said one of the owners of Ambrosia, Iceland’s first raw-food restaurant, on a recent visit from the Grapevine.
I had just taken a bite of my raw vegan burger and proceeded to raise my eyebrows and shake my head as if to say, “I don’t know.” The raw burger, my host proceeded to tell me, is a fascinating concoction, made from a variety of nuts and dried chopped vegetables, not cooked, but dried in an herb drier so as not to exceed the 45 degree Celsius “raw limit.” Heat above 45°C, according to those who subscribe to the raw philosophy, destroys enzymes and other important nutrients in food.
The whole production was rather mushy, which is not surprising considering that it was, well, raw, and the bread had a wet-paper quality. The burger was quite good, yet it stood as little competition to even a standard veggie burger. When it comes to eating raw, I think the mindset is half the enjoyment.
The second part of our meal, the dish of the day, was an avocado filled with a sort of vegetable teriyaki, consisting of green bell pepper, onion, pine nuts and a sweet peanut sauce, and was entirely delicious. For dessert we enjoyed a toffee-like chocolate cake made from dates and cocoa powder, and a Blue Sunset fruit smoothie, with pineapple, mango and blueberries. The cake was the best vegan dessert I have ever tasted, while the smoothie, devoid of any milk or soy products, had a concentrated and intense flavour, something that might take some time getting used to.
Although there are inconsistencies between the sensationalist claims of many raw-enthusiasts and the assertions of western scientists and health officials, studies have conclusively shown that eating raw fruits and vegetables, although perhaps not exclusively, does have health and cancer-preventing benefits. Certainly it leaves you feeling good, if hungry within a few hours. Obviously enough, on an exclusively raw diet, protein and calorie intake can become an issue. Cows, for example, are always eating.
The meal left us adequately filled yet feeling quite light. Everything is good in moderation, and as good food is good food, fresh fruits and vegetables speak pretty much for themselves. VÞ