When I was in university I used to always go to the supermarket and get a fruit, granola and yogurt parfait when I wanted something "healthy" for breakfast. The ones I bought had more sugar than they did anything else and don't even get me started on what yogurt used to do to my stomach. Not to mention the big old "granola is always healthy" myth that I used to subscribe to. Mass-marketed granola, like the kind found in mass-marketed fruit and yogurt parfaits, is often highly processed and loaded down with enough sugar to make it inticing to the masses. I'm pretty sure all I got from those parfaits was a crash three hours later.
I did always really like the taste, though, so when I saw a recipe for a living fruit parfait in Ani's Raw Kitchen I thought I'd give it a try.
Truthfully, I haven't had the time to experiment with this cookbook as much as I'd have liked to since I got it last month. And honestly, with the colder weather these days I've found myself leaning more toward comfort foods of the piping hot variety. Also, I find that I have trouble digesting all-raw, all-the-time. Probably just because my body isn't used to being treated that well. Ha!
All the same, I really have to stop looking at raw food as an all-or-nothing thing. I need to start incorporating more raw into my diet, even if it's just a small part of a mostly non-raw meal. I've recently started replacing breakfasts with Vega-fortified green smoothies and I can't even begin to describe the difference it's made in my daily energy levels. There is a huge difference between the days I have the smoothie and the days I don't, and it's enough for me to realize that I need to incorporate more raw elements into other meals as well.
The first step in putting together the parfait is making Ani's "Buckwheat Crispies", a living cereal made from dehydrated buckwheat groats. Despite its name, buckwheat is a seed rather than a grain and it is entirely gluten-free. High in dietary fiber and magnesium, it's believed to help in lowering the risk of high cholesterol and high blood pressure. It's also considered a better choice than many wheat products for those with blood sugar concerns (that'd be me) and Diabetes. Learn more about buckwheat here.
In other news, dehydrating is scary.
Not really. Only if you haven't done it before. Which I hadn't, until these crispies. Because even though I've had a dehydrator for years, I've always been kind of scared to use it.
The dehydrator is an older model, and it sounds a bit like freight train while it's going. So this project and all future projects will occur behind the closed laundry room door, I think.
Four and a half hours later, your Buckwheat Crispies are good to go, all you need is your non-dairy milk of choice and a bowl! They apparently keep for a long time too so I made a massive batch and stored it in a big glass container for future breakfasts. You can find the recipe for them here.
Instead of the yogurt found in mainstream fruit parfaits, Ani uses a raw pudding. The one I chose is made of cashews, medjool dates, water and coconut. You can find the recipe here.
After that it's just a matter of layering the parfait: fruit (I used bananas and strawberries), buckwheat crispies, pudding, repeat!
The one thing I find most surprising about raw/living foods is how filling they are. I'm not exactly sure why I thought that they wouldn't be. They are whole foods in the purest sense of the term, after all. But honestly, I eat a raw meal and I don't feel even slight hunger discomfort until, like, five hours later.
Eating food without really doing anything to it in the first place. What a concept. It's almost as if it was meant to be that way.