What are we trying to accomplish in a healthy raw vegan kitchen?  What tools can be used to accomplish this and what can they replace?  What we are trying to accomplish is to prepare healthier meals with no preservatives while keeping minerals, vitamins and enzymes from degrading.    How do we keep enzymes and minerals from the degrading? We don’t use high heat and do use the proper kitchen equipment and best organic produce we can find.

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Let’s start off with juicing. Juicing is a great way to get lots of veggies into your system without having to eat a whole bushel full. Juicing removes the fiber from the juice which allows faster absorption of the juice.   Basically you can juice a bushel of veggies down into a few cups of juice.   Keep in mind though that if you’re juicing fruits with high sugar, it also means that the sugar is going to get into your bloodstream a lot faster since you are removing the fiber.  That’s why we don’t recommend juicing fruits or veggies that are high in sugar.  We recommend using mostly greens with either celery or cucumber as a base or both as the base for your green juice.   By making your own fresh juices you’re getting all the vitamins and minerals from the juice almost straight into your bloodstream.  This is an excellent way to start off your morning and get a good energy boost instead of drinking, for example, acidic coffee or preservative filled, sugary, pasteurized juices in a bottle.  Unlike coffee,  green juices are alkalizing and help balance your bodies pH.

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We sell a variety of juicers on our website – http://www.upayanaturals.com.   Certain juicers can also be used to extrude your own pasta.  You can also use some juicers to put frozen berries or bananas through them to make your own fresh sorbets or frozen treats.   Some juicers can also be used to make nut butters or even nut milks. Making juices is a great way to get instant vitamins and minerals and can help replace some of your multivitamins, morning coffee and bottled juices. Keep in mind that you want to consume the juice as soon as possible to avoid oxidation. The longer you wait to drink it, the less nutrient dense it will be. The longer you wait the more it will oxidize –  just like when I an apple turns brown and oxidizes after you cut it.  We have many juicers to choose from and recommend a single auger or twin gear juicer for juicing mostly greens.  Contact us for more info on choosing a juicer.

Next on our list of equipment is the dehydrator.   A dehydrator, unlike an oven or microwave, does not cook food.    It uses low temperature heat and a fan to evaporate water in the food.  By doing this you are not killing your food with high heat, like in an oven, or with radiation, like in a microwave.   Dehydrating below 118 deg F will keep the nutrients and enzymes from degrading and keep your food still “alive”.

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Dehydrators are excellent for making foods like kale chips, veggie chips from zucchini or other vegetables, crackers, raw pizza, raw lasagna, stuffed peppers, cookies, trail mixes, granola, cereals, yogurts and more.   The dehydrator can eventually replace a stove or even a microwave.   In our house, we don’t have a stove, oven or microwave anymore.   Keep in mind that it took us a while to transition and be able to make healthy foods using our new tools.  Many people can’t fathom living without a stove or microwave.

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When looking for a dehydrator, make sure it has a temperature controller that can go as low as 118 deg F or lower.   We recommend the Excalibur brand which we sell on our website.   These dehydrators come with either a 5 or 10 year warranty and start from about $140 and can go up to over a thousand dollars for a complete stainless steel model.    Give us a call after you’ve done some research so that we can help you choose the appropriate model that fits your needs.

Next week we will talk about a couple more appliances that will help you transition into a healthier lifestyle.  Stay tuned.

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